How Shifting Towards Care Teams Can Improve Patient Outcomes

April 22, 2024

Traditionally, healthcare has relied on the one-on-one relationship between physician and patient to provide personalized care. This model focuses on direct interaction and individual attention to meet each patient’s health needs. However, as medical knowledge expands and patient needs become more complex, there’s a growing shift towards using care teams. This approach pools the expertise of various healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, specialists, and therapists, to deliver comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of a patient’s health.

Care teams signify a move towards a more integrated form of healthcare, where decisions are made collaboratively, ensuring that treatment plans are holistic and tailored to the individual. The advent of digital health technologies further enhances the capabilities of care teams, making it possible to extend their reach and provide continuous, coordinated care even in remote settings. This transition represents a profound change in delivering care, promising significant improvements in patient outcomes. 

The Evolution of Care Teams

The development and increasing adoption of care teams within the healthcare sector is a response to several converging factors. As healthcare challenges become more complex, with chronic diseases emerging as the leading cause of mortality worldwide, there’s an apparent necessity for a more integrated approach to healthcare. This need is further underscored by the demographic shift towards an older population, with projections from the United Nations indicating that the number of people aged 65 or over will double by 2050. These older individuals often require multifaceted care that addresses not just immediate medical issues but also long-term wellness and quality of life.

Parallel to these demographic and epidemiological trends is a growing emphasis on patient-centered care models. These models prioritize the patient’s overall experience and outcomes. Such an approach naturally demands the partnership of a diverse range of healthcare professionals beyond the traditional physician-patient dyad.

Moreover, the rapid advancement of digital health technologies has provided the tools necessary to support more nuanced and effective care strategies. These technologies facilitate the gathering, analyzing, and sharing of patient data among healthcare professionals, enabling more informed decision-making and timely interventions.

What Are the Roles in an Interdisciplinary Care Team?

A care team typically brings together a broad array of healthcare professionals, each contributing their specialized knowledge towards a common goal of comprehensive patient care. At the core of this team is the primary care physician, responsible for overseeing and coordinating the patient’s overall care. Nurses play a crucial role, offering both care and support, and often act as patients’ main point of communication and education. Specialists such as cardiologists, endocrinologists, or oncologists provide expert care for specific conditions, while mental health professionals address the psychological aspects of health, essential for a holistic approach.

The team also includes physical and occupational therapists who assist in rehabilitation and improve daily functionality, pharmacists who manage medication regimens, and dietitians who offer nutritional counseling. Social workers contribute by addressing the broader social determinants of health and ensuring that patients have access to necessary services and support. In addition, digital health specialists are becoming increasingly integral to care teams, managing technology solutions like Remote Patient Monitoring to enhance care delivery and facilitate continuous patient monitoring.

This healthcare model addresses patients’ immediate medical needs and supports their long-term health and quality of life. It marks a significant shift from traditional care models, promising a more satisfying patient healthcare experience.

Can Care Teams Enhance Remote Patient Outcomes?

As digital health technologies advance, the capacity for care teams to monitor, communicate with, and manage patients in their homes or other non-clinical settings is significantly expanding. This evolution is enhancing clinical outcomes for remote patients in several ways:

Remote Monitoring and Continuous Care

Through Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) technologies, care teams can consistently gather critical patient health data, ranging from vital signs and physical activity to medication adherence outside conventional healthcare settings. This continuous stream of data through wearables and other RPM devices offers care teams real-time insights into patient health, enabling them to make timely changes to treatment plans and preemptively address potential health concerns. 

Coordinated Care Across Distances

Care teams utilize digital communication platforms to facilitate seamless interaction among healthcare professionals, regardless of their physical locations. This ensures that all team members, including those specializing in digital health, can contribute their expertise to patient care without the need for face-to-face meetings. For patients, this means access to a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers who can together address their health concerns, offer support, and tailor care plans to their specific needs, all without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Personalization and Patient Engagement

The comprehensive view of patient health afforded by care teams and RPM technologies also allows for greater personalization in care delivery. By understanding the nuances of a patient’s health status in real-time, care teams can adjust treatments to match patient needs and preferences better, leading to more effective and satisfactory outcomes. Furthermore, engaging patients in their own care through technology allows them to play a more active role in their treatment and increases overall patient engagement. 

Overcoming Barriers to Access

Access to healthcare can be a significant challenge for many patients, especially those in remote or underserved areas. Care teams, supported by RPM and other digital health technologies, can break down these barriers and provide high-quality healthcare regardless of geographic location. This improves health outcomes for individual patients and contributes to greater equity in healthcare access across populations.

What Does the Future Look Like? 

The future of healthcare is increasingly collaborative, with care teams at the very forefront of integrated care. Recent studies highlight a significant trend towards multidisciplinary approaches in patient care, driven by the proven benefits of such models in improving patient outcomes and service efficiency as well as reducing in-person hospital visits and admissions. Furthermore, the adoption of digital health tools, including RPM, by care teams is expected to grow exponentially, with the global RPM market projected to reach $1.7 billion by 2027, signaling a robust integration of technology in patient care strategies.

Within this context of integrated care and technological integration, PatientOne, with its OpenRPM platform, is at the cutting edge of enabling care teams to monitor and manage patient health more effectively and efficiently than ever before, bridging the gap between traditional healthcare settings and patients’ homes. Contact us today to learn more about our products and how they can help you provide your patients with the best care.