The importance of interdisciplinary work in healthcare and how technology makes it possible
by Ana Díaz-Roncero, November 02, 2022
During a patient’s illness, he or she is regularly seen by different healthcare providers, which makes it necessary to coordinate between the providers throughout the process of care. This collaboration between different levels of care and/or specialists is receiving special interest because of the increase in patients with chronic diseases, patients with multiple diseases, or those who have comorbidities. Together with the increase in Digital Health, this is putting the focus on the need to assure continuity of care over the long term, as indicated in the semFYC-SEACV consensus document.
Currently, this continuity of care presents various challenges, as the hyperspecialization of health care professionals has led to the patient’s health being viewed in a series of watertight compartments, with the resulting barriers to transmission of information. However, it is common for the patient’s health to be under the care of different specialties, as mentioned at the SEC21 multidisciplinary congress, where it was noted that a cardiovascular patient could be treated, not only by the cardiologist, but also by specialists in endocrinology, nephrology, or internal medicine.
As a result, clinical collaboration and coordination between specialists and between different levels of care is key to addressing diseases in an optimal and interdisciplinary way, positively impacting the patient’s health. This has already been seen in various studies, in which they have demonstrated that communication and teamwork between specialty physicians and primary care providers has avoided undesirable outcomes and has increased survival and quality of life in patients with chronic disease.
In addition to impacting patient health, this helps to improve the quality of care, as the smooth transfer of information between specialists enables them to have the necessary information at the appropriate time, avoiding repetition of tests or questionnaires that have already been done. In this way, more efficient processes are implemented, reducing costs to the healthcare system, and improving the patient’s experience, impacting his or her physical and mental health.
It is easier to work within this interdisciplinary model today, thanks to technology, which enables healthcare professionals to collaborate among themselves, make referrals to other specialists, and review patient information immediately. In addition, if we involve the patients by using a digital platform, both the patients and the healthcare professionals who are involved in their health can see their progress, enabling action by each area of responsibility at the appropriate time.
To facilitate this work, we use Caaring®, our platform that enables the provider to carry out remote monitoring of the patient, facilitate the connection with consultants, and involve the various specialists who are involved in the patient’s treatment. This permits the collection of data directly from the patient, centralizing and sharing common information, without the need to duplicate data.
Ultimately, interdisciplinary work has a positive impact on the patient’s health and the improvement of the process of care. This teamwork, facilitated by technology, will be key to efficient medicine, in which information is centralized and continuity of care is guaranteed, thus improving the health and experience of the patient.