Viewpoint: 5 ways to preserve team-based care in telemedicine

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, Cleveland Clinic decided it must adjust the role of team-based care in the new shift to telemedicine, according to Kevin Hopkins, MD, primary care medical director at the health system.

During a recent presentation for the American Medical Association, Dr. Hopkins explained how Cleveland Clinic incorporated team-based care models during its rapid shift to virtual care at the start of the pandemic, according to a Nov. 9 AMA report.  

Five ways to incorporate team-based care in telemedicine, according to Dr. Hopkins:

1. Engage in telemedicine with the team and discuss the opportunities it brings to improve care not just for patients but also physicians, advanced-practice providers, IT partners, nursing and clerical leadership.

2. Project leaders should discuss telemedicine model options with their teams and how they relate to each person's skill sets. Some team-based care models include synchronous, real-time support with a nurse or medical assistant guiding the appointment from start to finish and asynchronous, which is when the nurse or medical assistant is not present for the entire visit.

3, Establish team-based care workflows by clearly defining roles and responsibilities together as a team, Dr. Hopkins said, adding that its important to "look at existing standard work as a starting point and then adapt those existing workflows for the telemedicine platform or co-create new ones."

4. Start simple when implementing workflows by making one straightforward change that can help secure a "quick win," and remain flexible with the plan schedule.

5. Optimize the model by continuing to practice it and hold team meetings to address new experiences or changes that should be made. "If our overall goal is to advance the care that we deliver to our patients and improve the engagement and satisfaction of all stakeholders involved in their care, including ourselves in our teams, be patient and show grace to one another," Dr. Hopkins said.

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