For the media

Health care is a team sport

By The Health News Team | July 13, 2023
Illustration of medical professionals

From the Super Bowl to the World Series, nothing is more exciting than watching a well-organized team performing at the top of its game. Teamwork isn’t limited to sports, though.

There are many players on a health care team, and the patient is at the center. Just as sports teams require athleticism and specific skills operating in synergy toward a goal, health care teams require coordination and multiple individuals with diverse skill sets to care for patients.

A collaborative health care approach

In recent years, team-based care is a health care delivery model that has become the staple across the nation due to its benefits for patients. This approach involves a group of health care professionals working collaboratively to provide patient-centered care.

Instead of a single doctor responsible for most — or all — of a patient’s care, the doctor shares responsibilities with at least one other person. Shared responsibilities include collecting information about a patient’s health, examining them, diagnosing conditions, prescribing medications and explaining treatment plans.

In primary care settings, this means your care team might include not only your doctor but also physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and medical assistants. With the doctor as the “quarterback,” the team works together to deliver the best care possible.

Expansion of team-based care at Sharp

Last year, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group began implementing a new team-based primary care model. A doctor and an advanced practice provider — either a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP) — are partnered.

Both NPs and PAs have extensive medical training and hold advanced education degrees. Patients have the option of seeing either provider for their health care needs. Maintaining open communication, they work in tandem — consulting with each other, sharing knowledge and insights, and collaborating to provide the best possible care.

“We are excited to offer more appointments using this team-based care approach, including same-day or next-day care,” says Dr. Jamie Saben, chair of the Family Medicine Department at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Dr. Michael Martin, an internal medicine doctor and pediatrician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, participated in the project’s initial pilot phase. Dr. Martin is partnered with a PA, and they work closely to care for their patients.

“Our patients have always been our first priority, and it is our honor to serve them,” says Dr. Martin. “Our team-based care model allows a broader perspective and even better availability for our patients.”

Sharp Rees-Stealy currently has six primary care doctors partnered with a PA or NP and plans to continue adding more of these care teams in the future.

Benefits of team-based care

Having an entire health care team dedicated to you and your care has numerous benefits, including:

  • More insights: The combined skills and experiences of the team means you have more insights into your health.

  • Increased access to care: If your doctor isn’t available, you may have the option of seeing a PA or NP sooner.

  • Scheduling flexibility: With more appointment options, you can enjoy the flexibility of booking the appointment date and time that works best for your schedule.

  • Continuity of care: This collaborative approach means health care is provided in a coordinated manner. The care team has a complete and up-to-date understanding of your medical history, ongoing treatments and care plans.

As the demand for health care grows, the expanded team increases options and access to care. Ultimately, the collaborative approach of a doctor and advanced practice provider working together means more care in your corner.

Learn more about the quality of care at Sharp; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.