Gone are the days when the physician was a lone-ranger. Health care has become a team effort, with the patient being the center of the care provided. A discussion paper titled “Core Principles and Values of Effective Team-Based Health Care” defines team-based health care as providing, “Health services to individuals, families and/or their communities by at least two health (care) providers who work collaboratively with patients and their caregivers…to accomplish shared goals within and across settings to achieve coordinated, high-quality care.”


A 2011 research article titled “How much time do nurses have for patients?” reported that nurses spent 81% of their total time on activities related to the patient care team. This included: 24.8% on patient direct care, 16.1% on patient indirect care, 20.9% on patient medication tasks and 19.2% on professional communication with other health care professionals. The team approach has also gained support through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 by incenting care providers to improve the quality and effectiveness of care and join accountable care organizations.


As outlined by “Core Principles and Values of Effective Team-Based Health Care”, successful teams have the following attributes:

  1. Shared goals: The team—including the patient and, where appropriate, family members—works to establish shared goals that reflect patient and family priorities and can be clearly articulated, understood and supported by all team members.
  2. Clear roles: There are clear expectations for each team member’s functions, responsibilities and accountabilities, which optimize the team’s efficiency and often make it possible for the team to take advantage of division of labor, thereby accomplishing more than the sum of its parts.
  3. Mutual trust: Team members earn each other’s trust, which allows for the exchange of information and greater opportunities for shared achievement.
  4. Effective communication: The team prioritizes and continuously refines its communication skills. All information channels are utilized, including in-person communication; progress notes and electronic health records; telephone conversations; email; text messages; faxes and even “snail mail”.
  5. Measurable processes and outcomes: The team agrees on and implements reliable and timely feedback on successes and failures in both the functioning of the team and achievement of the team’s goals. These are used to track and improve performance immediately and over time.


  1. Internet Research: What is collaboration?


  2. Team Response: Why is collaboration important in the care of the patient?


  3. Team Response: Identify some of the natural barriers that prevent collaboration.