Expanding the Traditional Patient Care Team Model

As patient care demands increase, so does the value of expanding the traditional patient-care team model. Our organization approaches cardiovascular quality improvements through a triad approach, including physician leadership, system cardiovascular quality data team and cardiovascular leadership from hospital operations. Our cardiovascular data teams do not provide direct patient care. They electronically interact with the patient's encounter by abstracting data elements required for NCDR Registry participation. With this role, they observe a unique perspective on the overall cardiovascular care, as well as the documentation, provided to many individuals with the same procedures or diagnosis. Bringing the data abstraction individuals into the process improvement discussion to share global observations as opposed to relying on intuitive interpretation of metrics or one provider's clinical practice, expedites the process to identify true root cause opportunities.

Including the data abstraction team, who function as metric experts, as part of the root cause analysis team brought a different perspective to the discussion. Their expertise and ability to share their observations of multiple physicians, as well as perceptions as to how the current processes were falling short, continue to be why we have been able to achieve and sustain high performance throughout our cardiovascular quality metrics.

Intra-professional teams routinely meet to create collaborative action plans and monitor performance which ultimately improves the cardiac care that is provided to the patients served within the organization. The development of physician tools, such as order set consolidation, structured reports and physician reference documents, include quality specialists to ensure tools support evidenced base practice and outcomes performance. Once implemented the quality team provides continuous feedback to the physicians on individual performance and documentation clarification.

Collaboration with physician leadership, operations, and the quality team has demonstrated meaningful improvement that can be sustained over time. Expanding the transitional care team model to include nontraditional members, such as those abstracting data quality measures as well as members of coding and revenue cycle, is a critical step as the health care industry continues to move forward into the pay for performance world. As each member brings a unique perspective to the team, it is only with true team work and goal alignment that performance goals may be achieved and sustained for improved patient care and organizational performance.

This article was authored by Andrea Price, RCIS, MS, CCA, a member of the CV Team Section Leadership Council.