The 3 C’s of Clinical Care – Clarity, Collaboration and Communication

susamvang200By Susam Vang, Hayes Management Consulting
Twitter: @HayesManagement

While patients today have more complications and multiple health problems, clinical care has become even more complex and specialized. These days, an entire team of healthcare workers including physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, and health professionals work together to coordinate a patient’s well-being while reducing the number of medical errors, increasing patient safety, and improving patient satisfaction. This collective effort also inevitably leads to improved patient outcomes.

Health information technology has also become even more important than ever as healthcare professionals manage patients suffering from multiple health problems and need to quickly learn new methods. Multidisciplinary health teams need to be assembled and work well together in order to solve complex health issues and attempt to understand the patient’s health problem(s). By asking probing questions, making an initial assessment and, after discussing among the team members, the healthcare team needs to provide a recommendation to the patient.

For this reason, healthcare is a multifaceted environment in which health professionals from different specialized knowledge, training, and responsibility for different tasks must work together, communicate often, and share resources. Teamwork is essential for delivering quality care to patients and in order to keep up with the ever growing healthcare challenges, you need to assemble the best team you can.

Teamwork in healthcare means collaboration and enhanced communication among team members in order to expand the roles of clinicians and health professionals. Additionally, teams function better when they are able to make decisions together, and when they have shared goals and a clear purpose in order to implement protocols and procedures.

When assembling your team, follow these 3 C’s of clinical care:

  1. Clarity
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication

Clarity – Selecting the right people
The initial step in assembling your best team is selecting the right people. Start by understanding the day-to-day activities the team will do and then choosing the personnel based on these key tasks. In addition to a team member understanding and optimizing their specific area of work, healthcare professionals often know little about what other team members bring to the complete treatment plans so when they have a team mentality, they tend to learn more about what role each member plays and work together in the best interests of the patient.

Collaboration – Getting a fresh perspective
Similar to the saying “can’t see the forest from the trees”, sometimes it’s difficult to see a routine environment with new eyes. Colleagues who may be outside your specific expertise or are new to your organization may be able to offer a different approach to the problem, can look at an issue from a fresh perspective, or can make different suggestions for a solution to an existing challenge. Having a fresh perspective on problem-solving can be beneficial to your organization’s situation because often “doing what you’ve always done” may blind you from potential solutions for your patients.

Communication – Promoting a center of solid communication
The more a team builds strong relationships and trust, better communication will inevitably follow. When communication is clear, not only do patients experience greater understanding about their treatment and expected outcome, but steps between prognosis and treatment will improve as well between your team members. Patients and their families may also feel more at ease, accept treatments and feel more satisfied with the care they received when their healthcare team is all on the same page.

At one healthcare organization where I assisted with an at-the-elbow go-live implementation, the client referred to the consultants as the A-Team. The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series about a group of elite soldiers. An A-Team may also be referred to as the top advisers or workers in an organization.

This particular client referred to us as the A-Team because consultants have high levels of expertise, skills, and experience in a specific field and they share their expertise and knowledge to help businesses attain their business goals and solve problems. Often times, organizations hire consultants to complement their staff and, as a person new to the organization, a consultant can also offer a fresh perspective on an organization’s situation.

Similar to The A-Team, the advantages of assembling a team of the top advisers or workers in an organization and helping them to work as a team may lead to fewer mistakes and improved patient outcomes. When clinicians and healthcare professionals collaborate and work together as a team, they can be more responsive to changes as they occur leading to improved patient care. Clear roles and communication among healthcare team members offer less confusion about a patients’ treatment plans. At the same time, patients may experience less stress and more satisfaction with their care when healthcare team members fulfill their duties, knowing their counterparts are working toward coordinated goals.

This article was originally published on Hayes Management Consulting and is republished here with permission.