On the "Front Lines" of Health Reform: Reinventing Team-Based Care

With millions more Americans now eligible for health insurance coverage, health care organizations and providers throughout the U.S. are experiencing increasing pressure to balance the growing demand for health care services. At the same time, providers are being asked to improve quality and lower costs. Further complicating this challenge is that the health care workforce is facing significant shortages of physicians, nurses, and other critical roles. In response, organizations are already beginning to think creatively about how to adapt their business model and operations to deliver more efficient, high-quality care.

The adoption of a care team model is a strategy that many organizations are using today. Bringing together a broad range of skills and perspectives across an interprofessional care team is critical to accommodating the many physical, emotional, and social needs of patients. The team may include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, health coaches, and mental health professionals. The composition should depend entirely on each patient's needs. 

Frontline health care workers are also important to rounding out the care team, and they already represent nearly 50% of the estimated 18 million people employed in the health care workforce. We define “frontline health care workers” as professionals that provide routine and essential services in a medical practice or health system, such as medical assistants, administrative assistants, laboratory and pharmacy technicians, community health workers, health educators, and home health aides. They represent a critical role in a patient's health care experience because they are often the first point of contact for many patients and families, and also provide basic clinical support services.

Go to top