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UK Family & Community Medicine embraces power of the TEAM

TEAM Clinic participants use collaborative care to improve patient experience
Blog

/ by UK HealthCare

At the intersection of exceptional patient care and remarkable education is the willingness and desire to adapt. The most forward-thinking healthcare delivery systems embrace collaborative practices to improve quality of care. 

The UK Department of Family & Community Medicine is transforming care by providing an early interprofessional clinical experience: the TEAM Clinic model. 

The TEAM approach

TEAM stands for Teach students, Empower patients, Act collaboratively and Meet health goals. It is a medical education reform model adopted by the UK Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Social Work. This collaborative research effort, led by Dr. William Elder, seeks to expose students to key experiences that characterize high-quality care. Faculty from each participating college worked together to review existing curricula and identify three main focal points for a low-volume, high-service clinic: patient-centeredness, interprofessional collaboration and team-based care. 

Nine first-year medical students, two first-year social work graduate students and one pharmacy resident were selected to be part of the interprofessional team, which treated medically and socially complex patients. At the beginning of the experience, each student was assigned a role specifically adapted for their unique skill set. Each student on the twelve-person team was then deliberately paired to broadened their perspectives on the scope and role of varied team members. 

Playing to their strengths

Through guided discussion, team participation, supervised patient interactions and facilitated reflection, students were able to explore different elements of patient care including social determinants of health, care of complex patients and the significance of patient-centeredness. 

“The biggest lesson I have learned is to utilize the strengths of each person on the team. Every health professional is taught to focus on different aspects of patient care during their training; therefore we will all have different strengths to bring to the table,” said Megan Higgins, a participant from the College of Medicine. 

Gabrielle Chamlee, another first-year medicine student, attested to how the TEAM Clinic experience has influenced her own professional patient care goals: 

“Learning all of the wonderful things clinical social workers and pharmacists can offer in the clinic has helped me determine that I want those resources for my future patients. We have learned about community resources and expanded our knowledge of pharmaceuticals. TEAM has truly prepared me for being a well-rounded physician that can effectively collaborate with other health professionals.” 

The continuation of this project, led by Dr. Carol Hustedde, will incorporate elements of transformative care in second- and fourth-year student activities. 

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