Key Success Factors
Primary Care Toolkit for Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Key to the establishment of interdisciplinary teams is a needs assessment to determine the health needs of the community and practice population. For example, the community may have a large number of disenfranchised mothers or elderly patients requiring diabetic foot care, all of whom could benefit from the establishment of a team of providers with skills unique to their professions. Population and patient needs assessments should be key determinants in deciding what kinds of teams are required and how to define interdisciplinary collaboration. Needs assessments will also define the funding required to support resources required in the establishment of patient care teams.
It is recommended that primary care groups be created and configured to meet the healthcare needs of the patient population, as defined by patient demographics and other data analyses related to the health of the population being served. If an information technology platform has been installed in the practice, analyzing the healthcare needs of the population as well as the need for and projected uptake of services such as nursing, midwifery or physiotherapy will be informative.
Primary care groups should not succumb to the temptation to recruit professionals from various disciplines in the absence of evidence to suggest that there is a need for those particular skills and services amongst the patient population being served. It is equally important that groups not yield to the temptation to over-utilize colleagues on the interdisciplinary team, simply as a method of either deferring workloads or generating increased utilization. In fact, decisions to add new providers to the group should be driven by collaborative, consensual needs-based decision-making that will inevitably increase the likelihood of successful implementation of primary care interdisciplinary teams.