About this Research Topic
Healthcare is moving away from the individual provider as expert model to embrace the more contemporary transdisciplinary team model. Transdisciplinary teams are those that integrate providers from multiple disciplines where members flex across traditional disciplinary boundaries in the name of comprehensive care coordination. This shift offers cost-saving benefits to healthcare organizations, improves efficiency, improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. Despite the multitude of advantages, when teams are not mindfully constructed, they can introduce status and power hierarchies, increase providers' stress levels, and exacerbate provider burnout. That is, simply putting individuals together and calling them a team is likely to backfire with individuals retreating to their disciplinary silos instead of coming together to offer integrated, patient-centered care. Thus, while transdisciplinary teams are lauded as the gold standard, they require intentional planning, an unwavering focus on communication, strong leadership, and administrative support to succeed. The medical specialty of palliative care serves as an excellent exemplar of transdisciplinary teamwork in action.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses that is focused on the relief of symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the stage of disease. In a best-practice scenario, this type of care is provided by a transdisciplinary team, usually comprised of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and chaplains. The Center to Advance Palliative Care estimates that 25 million people in the United States are living with a serious disease and that number is expected to double in the next 25 years. Moreover, the World Health Assembly resolution 67.19 emphasizes the need to create national palliative care policies and will continue to drive growth and delivery of this specialty.
This Research Topic seeks original research articles, commentaries, firsthand accounts, and case studies of working in or working toward transdisciplinary teams in the healthcare context. Articles related to leadership and or team building, team maintenance, or team challenges within the healthcare arena are sought. Potential contributors may also address common organizational obstacles (i.e. meetings, resource allocation, funding, etc.) present within healthcare contexts that may help or hinder teams and or leadership. The editors encourage researchers and practitioners in palliative care to contribute to this issue considering the scope and focus of the medical specialty.
Keywords: health communication, transdisciplinary teams, care coordination, palliative care, healthcare leadership
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