Doctor and patient in consult room in conversation with surgical masks on

What is person-centred, team-based care?

When going back to basics, the driving force behind healthcare delivery is to improve the mental, physical and social well-being of consumers. Considering the emphasis of this statement, consumers or people are central to healthcare. Unfortunately, however, this can be overshadowed by bureaucracy, a heavy focus on systems and processes, and levels of patient activation.

It’s widely known that person-centred care frameworks act as a strong base for safe, high-quality and high performing care delivery. These aspects recognise people as respected human beings and not just someone to be treated for an illness.

If you ask healthcare workers, they’ll likely all agree that this approach is central to everything they do, and for many, it is. Yet to see the benefits of patient-centred care there needs to be operational change across Australia. This change will lead to improved patient and workforce satisfaction and well-being, better service provision, improved resourcing, and reduced costs.

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in terms of healthcare delivery. As Australia continues to transform our models of care, the same statement can be applied to a patient’s engagement with healthcare professionals. Although each doctor, nurse practitioner and specialist has an array of qualifications and skills to meet particular patient care needs, an individual’s requirements change, so team-based care is essential.

In order to identify room for improvement, we need to better understand patient-centred care and how this can best be supported by effective team-based care.

What is patient-centred care?

As patient-centred care continues to develop, the UK’s Health Foundation has rightly recognised that it’s tricky to define it with one simple statement. In order to encompass the aims of this framework, they have developed the 4 principles of person-centred care:

  1. Affording people dignity, compassion and respect
  2. Offering coordinated care, support or treatment
  3. Offering personalised care, support or treatment
  4. Supporting people to recognise and develop their strengths and abilities to enable them to live an independent and fulfilling life

These principles allow flexibility within the delivery of individual care to ensure it’s fit-for-purpose in meeting patient needs. When health systems take a person-centred approach they increase patient activation while considering a patient’s comfort and surroundings and their beliefs and values to enable the delivery of responsive and tailored care.

What is a team-based model of care?

Referenced by numerous literature sources, the Naylor MD et al. (2010) definition of team-based care is as follows “Team-based health care is the provision of health services to individuals, families, and/or their communities by at least two health providers who work collaboratively with patients and their caregivers — to the extent preferred by each patient — to accomplish shared goals within and across settings to achieve coordinated, high-quality care.”

To support the adoption of patient-centred care, integrating multi-disciplinary and high functioning teams is essential in effectively managing complex patient conditions and the changing healthcare needs of individuals. The realisation that dynamic team-based care is essential to Australia’s future success is nothing new, yet the system faces challenges that need to be overcome to support large-scale quality improvements.

Patient-centred and team-based care in Australia

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has released a paper titled ‘Patient-centred care: Improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers’. This paper explores the principles of person-centred care and how they are applied within Australia and on a global-scale.

To better operationalise patient-centred and team-based care across Australia’s healthcare system, the paper, along with many other industry publications, calls for national reform and the provision of additional funding models, performance drivers and indicators. A new system should put the consumer – patient, carer, family member and community – at the heart of care. It should give consumers choices, power and control over their own health.

As part of a shift to better embed patient-centred care across the primary health sector the Department of Health implemented a trial of a health care home or medical home model. This innovative model engaged primary care team members from a number of general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to coordinate care for patients with chronic and complex conditions.

Considering the rise in chronic conditions, Australia’s aging population and the health disparities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those living in rural and remote areas, patient-centred, team-based care is essential to bettering the future health of Australians.

In October 2020, the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association formulated a blueprint ‘Enabling person-centred, team-based care’ to drive much needed national change across the sector. Key areas for improvement were suggested around:

  • Population health planning and data-driven models of care
  • Clinical governance
  • A cultural shift, with patient, family and carer inclusion
  • Person-centred goals, measures and indicators
  • Interoperable data and technology
  • Investment in infrastructure, and
  • Workforce development.

At a similar time, the Mitchell Institute and Victoria University released the Self-Care for Health: A National Policy Blueprint. This Blueprint provides a framework for action to achieve and expand the integration of self-care across Australia’s health system.

It’s clear that there is strong industry support for increased person-centred and team-based care in Australia. In recognising this it’s important to note that this wide-scale change is not just the responsibility of the government, industry bodies or health care services and workers. To maximise the benefits of patient-centred and team-based care, there needs to be commitment and engagement from all members of the Australian community.

CFEP Surveys is highly invested in bettering the health of Australia. Our service offerings provide solutions to support the monitoring, evaluation and analysis of data at all levels of the Australian healthcare system to drive informed quality improvement initiatives and strategies.

Speak to our team to learn more about improving your patient-centred and team-based care today.