Health Services Research & Development

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Van Houtven CH, Hastings SN, Colón-Emeric C. A Path To High-Quality Team-Based Care For People With Serious Illness. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2019 Jun 1; 38(6):934-940.
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Abstract: Although most care for people with serious illness is delivered by multiple providers and agencies, there is no gold standard for how to assemble, train, unify, and sustain strong teams. Using lessons from complexity science, a way of studying complex systems, we propose improving team connections; the quality, quantity, and timeliness of information flow; and the purposeful seeking of diverse perspectives to interpret information and make decisions as a means of driving effective self-organization of teams and leading to high-quality outcomes. We highlight an adaptable intervention that helped improve connections, information flow, and cognitive diversity and resulted in effective self-organization in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. Finally, we describe challenges to building teams across systems and sectors, and we present research priorities for spreading a complexity science-based approach to optimize teams that care for people with serious illness.