The Education of the Health Care Team - What's It All About?

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Submitted by National Center... on Mar 6, 2015 - 11:35am CST

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This document is the text of a speech delivered by Richard Beckhard at the Congress on Medical Education held in Chicago on February 1, 1974. 

As Beckhard explains: "The issue is not whether team delivery of health care is good or bad, needed or not needed.  Team delivery of care exists today, in a wide variety of delivery settings from the private physician-nurse team, to the multi-member interdisciplinary teams in community health centers, out-patient clinics and the like.

The issue is whether teams delivering care who have been helped, through education and training to pay conscious and continuing attention to how they function as a  team, are more effective deliverers of care.

The relevant variables, then, are: more or less effective, and: the effects of education on effectiveness.

What I would like to do [...] is to look at what is meant by an effective team; what are some of its characteristics; and what needs to be built in as capabilities among the members of a team if it is to be effective.  First, as background, I want to describe briefly some of the conditions around team delivery, particularly of primary care, that are causing more people to be interested in developing changes and modifications in health education to deal with these conditions.  Next, I would like to develop some working definitions that might help us to think about the subject."

Richard Beckhard
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