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ACOG Releases Report on the Role of Team-Based Care in Practice

Task Force Report Recommends Patient-Centered Collaboration Across All Specialties and Professions

February 22, 2016

Washington, DC — A team-based care model embraced by practices, payers, hospitals, and health care providers can lead to improved outcomes in support of achieving the Triple Aim while still decreasing costs, according to a new task force report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The peer-reviewed report, "Collaboration in Practice: Implementing Team-Based Care," has been endorsed by nearly 20 organizations representing a wide variety of medical specialties and professions.

"Optimally implemented, the team-based approach provides integrated care over the course of a specific experience, as well as across a patient's lifespan and within a regionalized care system," the report states.

Specifically, the report suggests that a team-based model of care strives to meet patient needs and preferences by actively engaging patients as full participants in their care while encouraging all health care providers to function to the full extent of their education, certification, and experience. This includes engaging the patient in shared decision-making, so that decisions throughout a patient's life are based on best available medical evidence as well as the patient's values, goals, and preferences.

Moreover, the report adds, team-based care across specialties and disciplines, coupled with traditional and nontraditional but evidence-based implementation tools such as telehealth and virtual teams, has a role to play in improving access to health care and mitigating health disparities.

"Evidence and experience have long showed that, across disciplines, collaboration in care leads to not just improved patient outcomes, but also enhanced patient satisfaction," said ACOG Past President John C. Jennings, MD. "By recommending that all members of the care team be included in team-based care, and by emphasizing its value through the life of a patient, we are laying the groundwork for team-based care to become the standard across medical disciplines."

The task force report lays out six guiding principles for implementing team-based care that act as a blueprint to ensure seamless integration. Those principles are as follows:

  • The patient and families are central to and actively engaged as members of the health care team.
  • The team has a shared vision.
  • Role clarity is essential to optimal team building and team functioning.
  • All team members are accountable for their own practice and to the team.
  • Effective communication is key to quality teams.
  • Team leadership is situational and dynamic.

In addition to the guiding principles, the report recognizes that practices and health care providers may face challenges when transitioning to a team-based model of care, but offers a series of opportunities wherein practices, health care providers, payers, hospitals, policy makers, and professional health care associations can effect change.

The interprofessional Task Force on Collaborative Practice was convened in summer 2014 as part of Dr. Jennings's presidential initiative. The task force included representatives from ACOG, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, and National Partnership for Women and Families.

For more information, please visit: www.acog.org/More-Info/CollaborativePractice.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org

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American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998