Maximize co-location. It is helpful to have the team members whose work is closely related—such as the CTCs and the RN for the team—to be situated near each other, rather than down a hall or in separate offices. Since the RN is co-located with the core teams at Bellin, there is now greater opportunity for verbal interaction, rather than just electronic communications, for matters such as triage calls and results management. RNs also provide a valuable resource for CMAs and LPNs, as well as help oversee team management of the in-basket.
Evaluate sustainability. Additional roles for the RNs required additional RN staffing. We assessed the new workload duties and balanced that against potential revenue from RN visits. This analysis indicated that an optimal ratio was 1 RN to every 3000 patients. This would allow an adequate number of RNs to fulfill additional roles and was financially sustainable with the goal of 4 billable RN visits per day.
Bellin’s leadership recognized that some physicians might perceive team-based care as eroding their primary responsibility for patients’ care. Physicians have historically been trained in a model based on the primacy of the individual physician and that can be a hurdle to embracing team culture as a new paradigm of care. Several strategies helped us and can help others, too.
Cultivate trust. Thorough training of CTCs and RNs is critical to helping physicians develop trust and reliance in the team. The physician retains final authority over the team for cosigning orders, editing and finalizing documentation, and overseeing results management. Physicians invested in training and educating their staff will reap the rewards of a highly functioning, more satisfied team.
Encourage leadership. This can be a cultural shift for physicians, yet it is critical that they take a leadership role in this transformation.17 Physicians and their team leaders attended training sessions in team culture and change management. Prior to the go-live date, team leaders also met with the physician individually to explore their concerns and discuss ways to effectively lead and support their teams.
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