Nexus Leadership Blog: Advancing and Affirming our Commitment to Teams

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Barbara Brandt

Based upon the calls and emails we are receiving in the National Center, the uncertainty about the direction of health care in the United States is now a source of significant confusion and anxiety.  Right now, that direction seems to be changing day by day, and even hour by hour.  What does this mean for all of us?  I’d say it’s time to look at life from both sides now.

Many of you know I’ve worked in the field of interprofessional education and collaborative practice in three states for many years (more years than I’d like to admit some days!) Throughout my career, I’ve seen the national health care policy compass align toward and away from interest in health teams and interprofessional education. In fact, I’ve written and presented extensively about what has fueled the current and growing focus on teams in practice, from the lens of the history of the field. 

While we wait to see what changes lie ahead, I am inspired that recent advances in new models of care and interprofessional education are supported by many health leaders, policymakers, accreditation agencies, clinicians working together every day, students and residents and their faculty.  People – especially the next generation of health professionals – want to collaborate for better health outcomes in multiple environments.  

And, it was unthinkable in 2006 -07 that such groups as the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) and the Global Forum on Innovations in Health Professions Education would ever exist, much less thrive.  Many different professional and patient groups are now at the table.  Such diverse organizations as the American Medical Association Accelerating Change in Medical Education, the National Nurse-led Care Collaborative, Beyond Flexner Alliance, Kaiser Permanente, and many others have asked the National Center to present and provide guidance on interprofessional approaches.  We hear every day about how valuable the Resource Center on is to support local work.  In the face of uncertainty, from our birdseye view, we only see greater commitment to new models of collaborative health teams.

The January 3 New York Times article, After Obama Health Reforms May Prove Lasting by Amy Goodnough and Robert Pear caught my eye. This is a boots-on-the-ground piece about Indiana University Health – a university that has made substantial investment in interprofessional education as a long-range workforce strategy. This article permeates with a commitment to quality, access to care and creating more value in health care.  

Since 2000 with the publication of the IOM’s To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, the health care delivery system has exponentially been transforming around teams for many reasons:  patient safety, quality, the patient-centered medical home movement, bipartisan support for value-based payment incentives and other new models of care engaging patients in new ways, considering the social determinants of health for lasting, meaningful change – not only the ACA.

To take stock of where we are, we are designing the 2017 Learning Together at the Nexus Summit to build upon collective success and the momentum by affirming and advancing our commitment to health teams.  In the Nexus – aligning interprofessional education and transforming health care – we are used to looking at life from both sides.

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