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AHEAD OF THE CURVE |

Interdisciplinary CollaborationInterdisciplinary Collaboration: The Slogan That Must Be Achieved for Models of Delivering Critical Care to Be Successful

Richard S. Irwin, MD, Master FCCP; Helen M. Flaherty, MS, RN; Cynthia T. French, MS, ANP-BC; Shawn Cody, MSN/MBA; M. Willis Chandler, MBA; Ann Connolly, MSN; for the UMass Memorial Critical Care Operations Team; Craig M. Lilly, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Critical Care Operations Team, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA.

Correspondence to: Richard S. Irwin, MD, Master FCCP, UMass Memorial Medical Center, 55 Lake Ave N, Room S6-842, Worcester, MA 01655; e-mail address: Richard.Irwin@umassmemorial.org

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A complete list of team members is located in the Acknowledgments.


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(6):1611-1619. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1844
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There is wide acceptance of the concept that interdisciplinary collaboration is an essential building block for successful health-care teams. This belief is grounded in our understanding of how teams function to address complex care needs that change with acute illness or injury. This general agreement has been validated in studies that have reported favorable outcomes associated with successfully implementing interdisciplinary models of health-care delivery in non-critical care settings. The very short time frames over which the care needs of critically ill or injured adults change and the team approach taken by nearly all ICUs strongly suggest that interdisciplinary collaboration is also beneficial in this setting. In this commentary, we define interdisciplinary collaboration and share the story of how we successfully redesigned and transformed our system-wide, interdisciplinary collaborative model for delivering critical care in order to share the lessons we learned as the process evolved with those who are about to embark on a similar challenge. We anticipate that those health-care systems that successfully implement interdisciplinary collaboration will be ahead of the curve in providing high-quality care at as low a cost as possible. Such institutions will also potentially be better positioned for improving teaching and providing a better foundation for critical care research in their institutions.

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