The Team-Based Approach to Patient Care
A recent article by Laura Landro of the Wall Street Journal, published on the newspaper’s website, discusses what seems to be becoming a trend in patient care: the team-based approach. This method of care modifies the usual doctor-patient relationship with one that involves the collaboration of a team of healthcare professionals, supervised by the patient’s doctor. The team-based approach is the standard here at DFW Bariatric Institute, with our surgeons overseeing a group of professionals who monitor our weight loss surgery patients throughout the treatment process. The article suggests the team-based approach is becoming more common in the healthcare industry due to the shortage of primary-care physicians, which may become even more pronounced with the growing number of new patients under the federal Affordable Care Act, and other reasons.
Under this model, the doctor and a team of medical professionals will perform different roles and contribute to the patient’s overall care. Each member of the team may practice at the highest level allowed by their extensive training and medical license. For example, the doctor may coordinate a patient’s treatment plan and other members of the team, such as physician assistants, medical assistants, or clinical pharmacists, may be responsible for administering tests, prescribing medication, or other aspects of care.
A study by the University of Washington and Group Health, mentioned in the WSJ article, looked at a group of patients with depression combined with diabetes and/or heart disease. The two-year study yielded results that showed patients treated with a team-based approach were less depressed and had some improved clinical outcomes compared with patients who did not receive the same approach.
While the article mentions another study which found that a majority of patients still prefer to be seen by doctors, that same study also found indications that many patients who have not been treated with the team-based approach are willing to try it, and many of those who have already had it enjoyed the experience.
Our next blog post will discuss how we implement the team-based approach at DFW Bariatric Institute. For more information about this subject or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, please contact us today.