Who should lead care teams?

With new delivery models promoting collaboration across the healthcare continuum, the question remains: Who should lead teamwork between providers and nonclinicans?

Having doctors take charge of formalized interprofessional teams not only works best but is what patients want, according to an editorial in American Medical News.

Studies have shown that doctor-led team arrangements, such as accountable care organizations or medical homes, have successfully reduced costs and lowered hospital and emergency department use.

And according to a 2012 American Medical Association survey, 75 percent of patients agreed that "patients benefit when a physician leads the healthcare team," the editorial noted.

However, other research points to nurses as effective care team leaders. Nurses have been increasingly taking on leadership positions and playing important roles in the success of ACOs. What's more, nurse-led programs have been shown to reduce medication errors and cut sepsis mortality rates in half.

Regardless of who's in charge, care teams must include patients to achieve better care quality and outcomes, Fox23 News reported.

"If we are going to be successful moving forward with whatever system we have, it's going to be essential more than ever that doctors, patients and everybody are working on the same page, on the same field [and] on the same team," said Dean Limeri, an internal medicine and primary care physician with Ellis Primary Care in New York.  

To learn more:
- read the amednews editorial
- read the Fox23 News article