Working together is better than going at it alone—especially in healthcare: Multidisciplinary coordination bolsters care delivery, sparks innovation and can improve outcomes across the board.
Take cancer care, for example. Uniting a team of practitioners of varying specialties, from surgery and oncology to radiology and psychology, has been shown not only to optimize the quality of care, but also to help put patients at ease in knowing they have a diverse group of experts on their side.
Other research has demonstrated that clinical teamwork can help reduce medical errors and can potentially even boost patient satisfaction scores, such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
That’s why, in an ideal world, every health system would orchestrate care through a multidisciplinary approach. And many do. But here’s the challenge: How do you get practitioners in different departments to operate as a connected team?
According to research from the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, four key parts help make it work: specialty expertise, infrastructure, organization and logistics. With a solid collaborative strategy and a well-deployed clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) tool, any hospital system can thrive in all four areas.
A Single Tool in the Ecosystem of Care
So much of a clinician’s day is spent in front of glass: Laptops, phones, tablets, pagers—the list goes on and on. When they’re not toggling between devices, they’re probably toggling between apps. And that’s just to communicate with their own team: If you add multidisciplinary coordination into the mix, the workflows could get even more messy. It’s no wonder tech-induced burnout is such a pain point.
The problem isn’t the amount of people in the communication ecosystem—a diversity in specialties makes it strong, after all. Rather, device overload weighs down the workflow. Luckily, there’s a solution for that.
When health systems consolidate their technology tools into a single but powerful platform, they can enable better communication, and glean all the benefits that collaboration brings. For one, patient care stands to improve as relevant experts get involved. And secondly, when the CC&C infrastructure exists, it becomes even easier to institutionalize multidisciplinary care in a sustainable way.
Multidisciplinary Collaboration in Action With MH-CURE
The more people you put on your communication network, the more valuable that network becomes. But too often, health systems operate from a fragmented model that separates the nurses from the doctors, the attendings from the residents, the specialists from the generalists.
Not with MH-CURE®. We built our platform to prevent the silos and foster systemwide collaboration for everyone—from clinicians to operational staff and all the roles in between. Surgeons use the tool. Dietitians do too. Admissions staff or pharmacists? You bet. If they work there, they can use the MH-CURE app. (In fact, we price the product based on the number of beds, rather than the number of intended users, to encourage including everyone.)
But we don’t just support multidisciplinary teamwork by having an app that everybody can—and should—use. The platform itself was engineered with collaboration in mind, with every bell, whistle and feature helping to advance coordination across the care continuum. For example:
- The Dynamic Care Team™ showcases who is assigned each patient, which can serve as an at-a-glance listing of all the multidisciplinary care team members for any given patient. That listing is made all the more meaningful for larger environments like teaching hospitals, where multiple clinicians, such as fellows, residents or interns may be involved in selected care pathways.
- The Dynamic Role establishes an on-call decisionmaker for each patient and forwards all calls and texts to that clinician, which means that any care team member can easily get in touch with a responding recipient at any moment. This can make all the difference for cross-departmental communications.
- With CURE Analytics™, administrators can review analytics and identify communication breakdowns or workflow barriers for continuous improvement from both an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective.
- With Broadcasts, users can send messages to a designated list of people, whether that’s everyone on the care team or everyone in the hospital. As long as users follow best practices, the feature can be an essential tool to send patient-specific notifications across the multidisciplinary team.
Enhancing the impact of these features is the fact that MH-CURE integrates with the electronic health record (EHR) in real-time. So, when multidisciplinary providers coordinate, they can all work from the same updated collection of basic information—such as the patient’s name, floor, lab results and age.
Virtual Coordination, Miles Apart
As another barrier, geography can also hold back multidisciplinary teamwork. If the radiologist works at one facility—and the provider who ordered the imaging works elsewhere—how can they collaborate if they’re miles apart?
Enter MH-CURE’s video chat function, which enables virtual multidisciplinary collaboration directly from the app. The tool instantly connects MH-CURE users via video conference for faster, more productive e-consults or coordination, regardless of where they are.
But the applications extend well beyond patient-specific questions or ad-hoc workups. Video conferencing can also help institutionalize a culture of multidisciplinary care, making all-hands-on-deck efforts like tumor boards more digital, and thus, more doable. Doctor-to-doctor video conferencing is especially relevant in an age of labor shortages that disproportionately affect specialists, particularly for smaller or more rural systems that may not have the resources or locale to hire certain providers.
All the while, video chat unlocks efficiencies, shores up workflows, reduces costs and improves patient satisfaction—thanks to the fact that care teams can conduct cross-disciplinary consults without the need to disrupt or delay the patient experience to travel.
Making the Multidisciplinary Model Work
Of course, technology isn’t the only pillar that can make or break a multidisciplinary approach—but if a strong commitment to cross-departmental collaboration exists, the tech can certainly make implementation that much simpler, sustainable and successful, too.
So, take time to explore your own workflows and whether there’s an opportunity for more teamwork. If so, consider how a smart communication solution could unite, rather than divide, providers for a more seamless treatment experience.
Your staff—and most important of all, your patients—may thank you.
To learn more about Mobile Heartbeat’s video chat feature on the MH-CURE Platform, download the free datasheet with sample use cases.