The importance of communication across the care team

Many primary care practices are establishing consistent care teams. Having the same medical assistant, nurse, provider, and other key staff members work together can help to improve efficiency and continuity of care for your patients. Although this is changing, most likely your practice will only have one care manager, so how do practices with multiple care teams integrate a single care manager? Following are some techniques for improving communication.

Care team huddles: Include your care manager into your daily care team huddles. If your practice has multiple care teams, consider staggering your huddles so your care manager can attend each huddle, or can rotate to different huddles.

Integrated team space: Does your practice have the ability to literally “break down walls”? If so, having a common space where all members of the care team can sit together has shown to increase communication and collaboration among team members.

Practice staff meetings: Include your care manager in practice meetings. If your care manager’s work location is not on site at the practice, encourage him or her to come to your practice and attend these meetings in person.

• Quality improvement teams: Does your practice have a quality improvement team? Many practices have found it beneficial to include their care manager as part of their quality improvement team as s/he is often working with patients on improving patient outcomes that relate to quality improvement and measures within the practice.

• Electronic communication: Does your care manager have access to your practice’s EMR? If so, is there an agreed upon place where s/he documents patient information? Coordinating patient and practice communication is one key to true team integration.

By Complete Care Management, Inc.