Inter-professional teamwork, collaboration, and communication are at the forefront of clinical care. However, these approaches experience a number of barriers while facilitating care. Effective inter-professional communication is a crucial skill that can facilitate teamwork and enhance high-quality, multidisciplinary patient care. The concepts are becoming crucial in our health service today given the increasing number of patients who require specialized care. Barriers in the healthcare setting are likely to lower the quality of care given to the patient and put their safety at risk. The paper elaborates how barriers to inter-professional teamwork, collaboration and teamwork impact quality and patient safety.
Barriers can arise when adopting inter-professional communication in patient care. Negative attitudes of the patient and the physician can pose a barrier to the provision of quality care and assurance of patient safety. When the health care providers are not communicating properly, the patient safety is a risk due to misinterpretation of information, lack of critical information, overlooked changes in status and unclear instructions over the telephone. Inter-professional communication barriers create circumstances where clinical errors can appear. These mistakes can cause severe injury or unanticipated patient death. Clinical errors, particularly those caused by lack of communication are a prevalent problem in modern health care settings (Barton, 2009). It is important to address the communication barriers before the undesired damage is realized.
Barriers to inter-professional teamwork entail lack of commitment of team members, apathy and inadequate decision making. These barriers can result in poor delivery of patient care and lack of guarantee of the patient's safety. Lack of commitment will ensure that no physician will be willing to take responsibility for patient care. Additionally, individuals may be unable to generate a mechanism where they can negotiate and re-negotiate their objectives over time. Professional specialization has disintegrated professions; this is likely to make staff member incapable of looking at health issues holistically. Teamwork barriers lead to the individual undertaking of the task to provide care to a patient (Li, 2007). These are some medical conditions that require teamwork to treat the patient; for instance surgery. When teamwork is absent, there is a likelihood of severe injury or death of a patient.
Numerous professionals are highly ignorant of the other health disciplines due to lack of collaboration during the process of patient care. Due to the nature of the healthcare setting, healthcare providers tend to become socialized into their professions and consequently develop negative prejudice and immature opinions of the role of other members of the health care team. Collaboration barriers like the complexity of care are likely to put the patient's life at risk (Li, 2007). Physicians may realize that the kind of care a patient requires is complex and a more competent physician is needed. However, due to fears of diluted professional identity, the physician may resolve to handle the patient himself or herself. The outcome may lead to the death of a patient or permanent damage to tissues. Hierarchy is also an issue that can hinder the quality of care given to the patient. For instance, in the case of surgery, the general physician has to wait for top-level management in the health care setting to approve the process. If the hierarchy is not efficient, then the quality of care given to the patient may be at risk.
Barton, A. (2009). Patient safety and quality: An evidencebased handbook for nurses. Aorn Journal, 90(4), 601-602.
Li, Y. (2007). The benefits and challenges of implementing inter-professional collaboration in the Canadian Healthcare System. Canadian Journal of Medical Radiation Technology, 38(3), 53-54.
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