Interprofessional Communication & Collaboration in Healthcare

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  • 0:03 Interprofessional Teams
  • 0:50 Collaboration
  • 1:33 Collaboration Techniques
  • 3:12 Conflict Resolution SKills
  • 5:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Caroline DaSilva
When healthcare teams work together, everyone benefits. In this lesson, you'll find out how to use effective communication to manage conflicts and support patient care within the interprofessional team.

Interprofessional Teams

In today's rapidly evolving healthcare environment, more and more emphasis is being placed on safe, high quality, accessible, patient-centered care. The cost of failure can be high, whether measured in patient health or in dollars spent on inappropriate care. To meet this challenge, workers across all of the health professions - interprofessional teams- are deliberately working together toward a safer and better patient-centered health care system.

So what does the term interprofessional team mean? Simply put, it is the working unit of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other providers that provides team-based care to patients. An interprofessional team moves beyond independent care-giving and toward a new level of cooperation, coordination, and collaboration in delivering patient-centered care.


In order to provide the best possible care, a shift in the relationships inside the interprofessional team must occur, requiring a new approach to collaboration, which is a synthesis of many different perspectives toward better understanding a complex problem. A collaborative outcome is an authentic solution and a unified result that goes beyond the individual and toward an authentic healthcare solution that could not be accomplished by any single person alone.

But aren't all teams interprofessional? In reality, they are not. Teams that are truly interprofessional don't occur spontaneously; the team must be created and nurtured by all of its members and requires both time and effort. Luckily, experience has provided tried and true methods that help teams accomplish true collaboration. Let's look at some proven techniques.

Collaboration Techniques

True collaboration - where joint communication and decision making among all members of the healthcare team is the norm - is not a one-time thing but a continuing process that develops over time. Getting there requires authentic leadership, communication, and effective decision making.

True collaboration involves respecting and valuing every team member. Teams that respect and value every team member and professional discipline allow each one to fulfill his or her individual role as completely as possible. In practice, collegial teams built upon mutual respect don't tolerate inappropriate behavior, especially bullying of any one discipline or individual. When a team respects each member's unique abilities and knowledge, it validates its commitment to the common goal: safe, quality care for patients and their families.

Collaborative teams also share the work. Successful teams note that by sharing planning, problem-solving, and goal-setting, they are able to work together cooperatively and can communicate more effectively. Teams that share the decision-making demonstrate one of the hallmark dimensions of collaborative practice. Consider using clinical rounds and interdisciplinary team meetings as ways to utilize face-to-face interaction and shared decisions. Interactions like these can provide opportunities for information sharing, learning, and planning patient care.

It's important to include patient families in this process as well. By including patient families in the decision-making process, collaborative teams learn to value and manage diversity. The United States is home to an ever-increasing number of individuals from distinct racial and ethnic backgrounds. Embracing cultural experience and backgrounds can add depth to, and create a better understanding of minority needs and requirements.

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