The Art of Collaboration: The Importance of Working with Interprofessional Teams

Posted on 06/21/2024 - 9:35 AM by CCMC

The Importance of Interprofessional Teams

Interprofessional teams, comprised of healthcare professionals from diverse fields, work together towards a common goal: improving client health outcomes. This collaborative approach not only enhances the quality of care but also can reduce medical errors, decrease hospital readmissions, and lower healthcare costs​​​​. Each team member brings their unique expertise and perspectives ensuring comprehensive and collaborative care.

Dr. Joy Doll, an expert in interprofessional collaborative practice, highlights the impact of well-functioning interprofessional teams on achieving the Quadruple Aim of healthcare. This framework focuses on improving client experiences, enhancing population health, reducing costs, and improving the work life of healthcare providers​​. Doll's research demonstrates significant reductions in emergency department visits and hospital readmissions, alongside improvements in client and employee engagement​​.

The Role of Certified Case Managers

Board-Certified Case Managers are essential members of interprofessional teams, contributing their expertise to ensure that the care plan focuses on the needs and wishes of the client. As the healthcare industry shifts towards value-based care models, the multifaceted role of CCMs becomes even more critical, requiring a deep understanding of both clinical and non-clinical factors that affect client health​​.

Effective Interprofessional Teams

Effective interprofessional teams are built on mutual respect, trust, and clear communication. Each team member must understand the roles and responsibilities of others and feel comfortable engaging in open dialogue. This environment fosters collaboration and minimizes the risk of misunderstandings that could compromise care​​.

The Interprofessional Education Collaborative identifies four key focus areas for successful interprofessional practice: values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and teamwork​​.*[i] Emphasizing these areas helps build a strong foundation for teamwork and ensures that care providers are aligned in their goals and approaches.

Challenges and Solutions

Despite the benefits, implementing interprofessional collaboration is not without challenges. Different professional cultures, communication styles, and hierarchical structures can create barriers to effective teamwork. For instance, traditional power dynamics in healthcare often place physicians at the top of the hierarchy, which can hinder open communication and shared decision-making​​.

Addressing these challenges requires a cultural shift within healthcare organizations. Training and education programs that emphasize interprofessional collaboration from the outset can help impart these values to future healthcare professionals. Additionally, creating environments that promote psychological safety and encourage open communication can help break down these barriers​​.

Technology also plays a crucial role in facilitating interprofessional collaboration. Electronic health records (EHRs) and other digital tools can streamline communication, ensuring that all team members have access to the same information and can coordinate care more effectively​​.

Case Study: Interprofessional Collaboration in Practice

A case study from Creighton University illustrates the power of interprofessional collaboration. Dr. Doll led an initiative to establish a clinic, uniting care from nine different health professions. This model not only improved client outcomes but also demonstrated significant cost savings and enhanced client and employee engagement​​. The clinic achieved a dramatic reduction in emergency department visits and hospital readmissions, underscoring the effectiveness of a well-coordinated, interprofessional approach.


Board-Certified Case Managers are uniquely positioned to enhance the effectiveness of interprofessional teams by fostering a culture of collaboration and understanding the strengths of diverse healthcare professionals. Expertise in care coordination, communication and advocacy makes CCMs vital in the effort to improve healthcare outcomes. Case managers can help achieve the goals of value-based care and ensure that clients receive the highest quality of care, while driving improvements in health outcomes and the overall efficiency of the healthcare system.

[i] *Fink-Samnick, E. (2019). Leveraging Interprofessional Team-Based Care Toward Case Management Excellence: Part 1, History, Fundamentals, Evidence. Professional Case Management24(3).