Redesigning the Care Team: The Critical Role of Frontline Workers and Models for Success

With health expenditures totaling $2.8 trillion and accounting for 17% of the US economy, issues of cost containment and quality improvement are a high priority. With millions more patients entering the health care system as a result of health insurance expansion, an increasing prevalence of chronic diseaseand significant aging population, it makes sense that health care organizations and the workforce are continuously strained to meet an overwhelming demand for services. However, it is widely recognized that developing and supporting a productive workforce is essential to bending the cost curve and improving quality of care.

Recent estimates predict a shortage of 130,000 physicians and 260,000 registered nurses by 2025. In an effort to balance the supply of clinicians and staff amid overwhelming demand for health care services, many organizations are transitioning to a team-based model of care; a model that has demonstrated significant improvements in the quality, delivery and efficiency of care across care settings. 

To ensure that the team is accommodating the entire spectrum of a patient’s needs—physical, mental, and social—it is important for an organization’s care team model to embrace an interprofessional approach. For example, a care team may include physicians, nurses, and physician assistants, as well as psychologists and social workers, depending on the patient’s needs. 

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