As I walked home from the local farmer’s market, I passed a sign on the sidewalk looking to hire staff at a cafe: “Wil jij ons team versterken?” (which translates to “Do you want to strengthen our team?”) This struck me as a perfect fit for the philosophy behind this month’s theme issue on “Team and Interprofessional Care.”
While strengthening a team can take on a variety of meanings, it is apt in the demanding and dynamic clinical and educational settings of multidisciplinary general internal medicine healthcare professionals. Patients with complex medical conditions, polypharmacy, and multiple interrelated social determinants of health have numerous care needs that can ideally be addressed through coordinated care that pools resources and expertise to provide care at the right times, places, manners, and in accordance with patients’ preferences.
From an individual’s perspective, strengthening the care team might mean bringing a unique expertise to their team. Orozco, et al., explore these issues and the potential for a community health worker or patient navigator to facilitate care coordination and community engagement in individual patients’ health. Myong and Newman offer a medical student perspective on the visible value of multidisciplinary team care in patients’ communities. For a team looking to adapt to changing healthcare environments and optimize the applications of their team members’ skills, Sakumoto, at al., offer a look into an all-virtual primary care team model. General internal medicine physicians, or generalists, can identify with a variety of roles based on their clinical setting: hospitalists in hospital settings, ambulists in ambulatory settings, and now virtualists in virtual or remote settings. For leaders and organizations looking to bring on talent from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, strategic planning and intentionality are needed to foster innovation and synergy within and between care teams across different settings. Alkhaiw and Torres-Deas explore the long view of primary care physicians in interdisciplinary team leadership roles.
SGIM also has its role to play throughout each of these settings with regards to promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and team-based care.1 Lypson, SGIM President, provides an update on behalf of SGIM Council and highlights from the winter leadership retreat. If you are a current or recent general internal medicine fellow, or a general internal medicine fellowship program director, please read an important call for survey responses from the SGIM Fellows Survey Sub-Committee, a subcommittee of the SGIM Research Committee, by Marathur, et al. The survey provides the Sub-Committee with information on the career outcomes of current and former general medicine research fellows and helps to identify barriers and facilitators to developing and maintaining a GIM research career. Also, Bass, SGIM CEO, and O’Malley, Director of the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research (NCEPCR), provide an update on NCEPCR goals for primary care researchers and how SGIM is engaged in advancing primary care research workforce development.
Each of us has an opportunity to apply our skills and perspectives to advance—and strengthen—interprofessional and team care. This theme issue only begins to offer a few glimpses of this vital primary care health service. Stay tuned for more vital viewpoints to come in the next issue!