Who should lead care team? Not nec­es­sar­ily a doc­tor

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the Q&A with Dr. Robert Wah, the new Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent (“Doc­tors should be cap­tain of the ship” June 30, p. 28), I wish to of­fer a more con­tem­po­rary view that pa­tients and fam­i­lies want the provider who is best pre­pared to meet their needs and pref­er­ences to lead the health­care team, and the role of leader may shift over time and episodes of care.

At times, the physi­cian will be the leader, but it might also be the nurse, phar­ma­cist, ther­a­pist or nu­tri­tion­ist. If we are truly fo­cused on person- and fam­ily-cen­tric care, we place pri­or­ity on who can best meet their needs.

Trans­for­ma­tion in our health­care sys­tem also calls for new roles and prac­tices. The Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act in­creases ac­cess, em­pha­sizes pre­ven­tive, well­ness and pri­mary-care ser­vices, and im­proves care co­or­di­na­tion—ar­eas where nurses excel. To be suc­cess­ful, pa­tients must be at the cen­ter of in­no­va­tive care mod­els fea­tur­ing a team of health­care pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in con­cert. Nurses are called upon to be lead­ers and full part­ners with physi­cians and other health­care pro­fes­sion­als in de­liv­er­ing ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive care, as rec­om­mended in the 2010 In­sti­tute of Medicine’s “Fu­ture of Nurs­ing” re­port.

As we all know, to meet the grow­ing de­mand for ser­vices, we must op­ti­mize the con­tri­bu­tions of all health­care pro­fes­sion­als. Health­care con­sumers and pol­i­cy­mak­ers ex­pect the lead­ers of our na­tion’s health­care pro­fes­sions to col­lab­o­rate and lead change in pa­tients’ best in­ter­ests. Pamela Cipri­ano

Pres­i­dent Amer­i­can Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion

Sil­ver Spring, Md.

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