As healthcare systems shift their care models to be more responsive to patient-centered care, ambulatory care teams need to be positioned to operate efficiently in their everyday work environments, write CannonDesign Health Practice leaders Tonia Burnette and Mike Pukszta.
Graphic depicts an example of a primary care model of the future. In many primary care settings, a team consisting of a primary care clinician, medical assistant, registered nurse, and administrative assistant are responsible for a panel of patients, helping to facilitate interactions with other members of an extended care team that may need to be involved. Illustration: CannonDesign
How can teams be structured to effectively manage a growing day-to-day patient population while implementing broader population health strategies? How can care processes simultaneously improve quality and caregiver satisfaction while lowing the cost of care? These are just two of the major questions healthcare organizations are facing every day and the solutions that are emerging often require a shift in the way ambulatory care teams are working together.
In a recently published research paper, "Emerging Strategies for the Ambulatory Team in Transition," Health Practice leaders Tonia Burnette and Mike Pukszta discuss some of the operational and functional design solutions that are emerging in response to these changes.
In the paper, Burnette and Pukszta examine how the changing structure of the team in primary and specialty settings is informing changes in the way teams communicate which in turn is leading to an evolution of the physical environments that support them. Additionally, they look at how some of the quality initiatives that these teams are implementing (such as pre-clinic huddle, in-room scribing, and shared medical appointments) are impacting how patient care settings are designed and operationalized.
The authors also offer three key design considerations for supporting team-based models:
• Collaborative work environments should be designed in a way that prevents patients from overhearing discussions while at the same time allow care providers to be in close proximity to patients.
• Huddling spaces should be provided throughout the care zone to allow staff communication between patients and quick check-ins between care team members.
• Private enclaves need to be provided to allow for activities that require quiet space or focused thinking.
The ambulatory care team of the future will look quite different than it does today. This paper helps healthcare organizations understand some of the implications of these changes so they can implement the strategies needed to ensure a smooth transition to this new ambulatory paradigm.