The healthcare sector operates through the interaction of people from diverse cultures, nationalities, and religions. Healthcare providers are not restricted to their service provision and can serve patients from any part of the globe. Similarly, patients are also free to seek medical attention from any healthcare provider near them. With healthcare issues being universal, collaboration among the stakeholders in this industry is crucial. Collaboration among the stakeholders in the healthcare sector is essential for the smooth flow of information, implementation of new technologies, and maintaining positive relations. The healthcare sector operates in a culturally diverse environment. Collaboration is the binding force that harmonizes this cultural difference; therefore, creating a conducive working environment for the healthcare providers and patients.
Collaboration and its Importance in Healthcare
According to Croker, Higgs, and Trede (2016), collaboration is the decisive relationship in which all parties strategically decide to work together to achieve a common goal. Collaboration is crucial for the progress of the health sector. Didier et al. (2017) maintain that without collaboration, the medical industry cannot function effectively. Healthcare providers must cooperate among themselves and with their patients to address existing and emerging health issues. Particularly, inter-professional collaboration is vital for enhancing the quality of healthcare services. According to Kayser (2017), collaboration enhances innovation and dissemination of information in the healthcare sector. Moreover, it facilitates the production of culturally competent health practitioners. Currently, the healthcare sector requires individuals who can work in culturally diverse environments. In this respect, collaboration allows health practitioners to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Additionally, Bosch and Mansell (2015) point out that collaboration improves patient outcomes such as management of chronic diseases and reducing mortality rates. When healthcare providers and patients cooperate, they can identify the factors that hinder the provision of quality medical services. On health practitioners’ side, collaboration reduces workload and enhances job satisfaction. Working as a team results in the sharing of responsibilities, which makes physicians’ work easy. Furthermore, inter-professional collaboration enables healthcare providers to share ideas on ways of improving the quality of healthcare services.
The health sector insists on the concept of teamwork. Collective competence is the ability of individuals to work effectively as a team. In this sector, collective competence determines the quality of services that patients receive. Expounding on this position, Franqueiro and Brown (2017) state that competent individuals can provide inept care if they fail to function as a team. Unlike other fields, the healthcare sector operates in an inter-connected manner that makes teamwork inevitable. As a result, healthcare practitioners rely on collective competence to advance their knowledge, skills, and perceptions, in addition to providing quality services to patients (Epstein et al., 2017). Since the healthcare sector works in an interconnected manner, a mistake from one individual affects the effectiveness of the whole system. For that reason, collective competence ensures that all activities in the healthcare sector are done harmoniously.
Essential Characteristics of Collaboration
Collaboration entails purposeful coordination of activities between different parties to attain a specified goal. For people with different interests to work harmoniously, they must trust, respect, and value each other. These are some of the key attributes of collaboration. Trust and respect enable health professionals to forgo their interests and pursue a common interest. Moreover, a common goal serves as the binding force in collaboration. According to Bookey‐Bassett et al. (2017), a shared goal allows the collaborating parties to devise strategies and rules of working together. Furthermore, clinical and interpersonal competence defines the level of cohesion during collaboration. Each person is gifted differently. Consequently, effective collaboration is made up of individuals with diverse clinical and personal competencies to attain the outlined goal.
After completing the Interprofessional Collaboration Self-Assessment tool, I scored 4.375 on the Interprofessional Interaction Domain and 4.75 on Values Domain score. These scores were significantly affected by my ability to engage other health professionals in shared problem-solving activities and embracing the diversity that characterizes a healthcare team. However, I need to improve on roles and inter-professional communication. These areas fall under competency domain two and three respectively in the IPEC classification. Particularly, I need to discover the limitations in my skills, knowledge, and abilities referenced as RR2 by IPEC. Additionally, I commit to improving my active listening skills referenced as CC4 by IPEC. Active listening skills are crucial in encouraging other team members to present their opinions elaborately.
Barriers to Collaboration
Several factors inhibit effective collaboration among healthcare providers. According to Morikawa et al. (2017), distance, language, culture and organizational structure are some of the key barriers to collaboration in healthcare. Distance limits the interaction between healthcare providers. Technology has tried to limit the influence of distance in collaboration through the use of virtual teams. However, distance remains the leading barrier to collaboration between healthcare service providers. On the other hand, language and culture are the primary barriers to collaboration between service providers and patients. For instance, the language barrier has hindered my collaboration with my patients in the past. However, I used the services of a language translator to overcome the barrier. In the future, I will utilize a native medical assistant if I am operating in an environment where a language barrier exists.
Last year, I was part of a medical team that successfully assisted children with autism at a local children home. The team comprised of pediatricians and psychotherapists. In particular, our role was to educate the parents on ways of raising their autistic children healthily. The team’s effectiveness was strong, and we achieved all of the set objectives within the stipulated time. The team’s effectiveness was promoted by effective communication skills, respect, and willingness to work as a unit. Even so. I could have incorporated humor into this activity to enhance team-building. Lack of humor made the event dull and exhaustive for the medical team.
Collaboration is essential for the provision of quality healthcare service. Collaboration drives innovation, communication, and efficient service delivery in the medical sector. Moreover, it reduces work-related stress in healthcare practitioners through sharing of responsibilities. However, barriers to collaboration such as distance, language, and culture need to be eliminated to enhance the global nature of healthcare services.