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Uniting around a common goal

The importance of the multidiscipline team

Diane WassWe increasingly live in an interconnected world, in a fast-moving environment, with evidence showing the connections between different types of healthcare stakeholders, from policymakers to patient groups, growing increasingly entwined. We no longer live in a world of single-point decision-making. Decisions in healthcare have moved from ‘Is this drug safe and effective?’ to ‘With this finite pot of money, where am I best to invest relatively across a population?’. We live in a complex environment that needs complex expertise, harnessed across a multidiscipline team.

Pioneering research by Professor Ancona, MIT Sloan School of Management, led to two important concepts: ‘X-teams’ and ‘distributed leadership’. Her research highlights how there is a need to move from inwardly focused teams to externally focused ones (‘X’ stands for external). An ‘X-team’ is an adaptive structure that gives individuals and teams flexibility to adapt to their environment, devolving power to have the right individuals, with the appropriate expertise, involved with the right tasks at the right time. In the healthcare context, experts may be health economists, clinical, scientific, financial, political, media, commercial, product supply and more - it is this diversity of integrated skill that can truly deliver outcomes.

The challenge that we need to meet, however, is how to coordinate this range of expertise, having them remain in touch not only with each other internally, but with their counterparts within their own discipline externally. If achieved, this creates synergistic outcomes beyond the sum of the parts. This is where ‘distributing leadership’ is key. The job of a leader in a modern organisation is not just being a leader yourself, but also how to create leaders in others, creating a ‘Team of Leaders’ across the different functional disciplines that regularly meet to define a ‘joined-up’ multidisciplinary strategy.

Finally, how do we unite and inspire the multidisciplinary team? In the words of famed TED talker Simon Sinek, “Start with WHY’. Whether in the NHS, a patient group, NICE, a pharmaceutical company, agency or clinical-setting, the one thing that unites nearly all stakeholders in healthcare is they want to ‘make a difference for patients’. Yes, there are restraints, whether that is political priorities, NHS budget or shareholder return, but it is only by the multi-disciplinary experts in teams across the healthcare stakeholder mix working together, co-creating solutions that work on all levels, that we can maximise return for our primary customers - patients.

Dr Diane Wass is managing director of JPA Health Communications, Europe

In association with

JPA

18th August 2017

From: Marketing

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