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Integration – Is it really the best medicine?

Have you heard the saying “One can put a thousand to flight but two can put ten thousand to flight”. 

The Power of a Team

A powerful dynamic happens when you work as a team. A classic illustration of the power of team is illustrated in the pulling power of horses.

“At a state fair, there was an event where horses were being hitched to wagons to see which horse could pull the most weight. Two horses pulled just over 4,000 kilograms each. They then hitched these two strongest horses together on the same wagon. The horses didn’t pull 8,000 kilograms– a mere doubling of their individual efforts. Instead, together, in true teamwork, they pulled 16,000 kilograms. The power of team!”

At ATUNE we have a saying “working together is the best medicine” and today more and more research is confirming this to be true (1). So why is this?

Why does integrated health care work?

Imagine 5 professionals, all highly skilled at what they do but each from a completely different area of healthcare. Traditionally you would see these professionals individually and be given five different ways to best assist your condition. Imagine though, if they put their collective medical experience together and worked through how their methods would interact with one another so that the best possible outcome with the least burden from you could be achieved! Instead of being in the middle of differing opinions, your health professionals are working together with one another to support YOU the client as their sole priority. Integrated care results in a clear pathway for your health built on wisdom and experience that is tailored to your specific needs.

True integration is the best medicine as it:

  1. Saves the confusion. You are not responsible for sorting through different opinions to find a solution that works for your health.
  2. Gives continuity of care. With everyone working for you and communicating with one another your health outcomes will be realised sooner.
  3. Is Comprehensive. Having multiple people involved in your care means, more eyes looking for significant factors that can be missed.
  4. Uses the power of team. You get much more for much less.

So if integrated care is the best method of care, why aren’t health outcomes in our community increasing exponentially? The simple answer is that whilst the term ‘integrated care’ is used in many health facilities and services, not all integration in the same. At ATUNE we have changed the term integrated care to interdisciplinary care to better reflect the true essence of the practice.

How does interdisciplinary care work at ATUNE?

  1. Understanding of Scope of practice
    Every professional needs to know his or her individual boundaries. Understanding one’s place in the system of care is the first step in working with other professionals.
  2. A willingness to understand

Understanding the work of other professionals allows you to determine where your approaches compliment and conflict. This conversation leads to collaboration. 

  1. Collaboration

Working together in the assessment and treatment of clients creates the place for clinical innovation and individualised clinical care.

  1. Developing Healthy conflict

We encourage all professionals to major on the majors and minor on the minors. Developing this discussion outside of the health professional/patient relationship ensures that you, the client, has a pathway of health and not conflicting opinions.

  1. Servant leadership

The primary role of a health professional is to serve you the client.  Serving you creates a completely new dynamic in teamwork and keeps the focus on what is most important - YOU.    

Interdisciplinary care does not just happen. Like a greenhouse it needs to be created from the bottom up to allow true and system wide integration to occur. In this environment, the sky is the limit as to what can be achieved for you.

The new rules of medical practice are changing the way health care is administered. Don’t accept anything less that interdisciplinary care; it’s the way of the future in healthcare and is the BEST medicine.

  1. A multifactorial intervention for older people is more than twice effective. (Nicola Fairhall, Catherine Sherrington)

Article by Simon Ashley, CEO at ATUNE Health Centres.

2018-01-20T13:46:49+10:00

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