Educating Health Professionals Collaboratively for Team-Based Primary Care

Team-based primary care offers the potential to dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of care, but its broader adoption is hindered by an education system that trains health professions in silos.

Collaborative models that educate multiple practitioners together are needed to create a new generation of health professionals able to work in efficiently functioning teams. Changes in professional cultures, organizational structures, clinical partnerships, admissions, accreditation, and funding models will be required to support the expansion of collaborative education effectively.

As Americans work to reform our health care system so that we receive higher-quality care at a lower cost, many stakeholders see substantial opportunity in the expansion of primary care teams. A compartmentalized health professions education system makes it difficult to adequately prepare future practitioners to work in teams. In this article, the authors have suggested that expanding collaborative education is key to the creation of efficiently functioning teams that generate clinical benefits.

If the required revolution in medical professionals’ education is successful, the primary care system of tomorrow will be more collaborative, more efficient, and more effective than the system of today. And patients will receive higher-quality care.