(HealthDay News) – The principles underlying the framework for a team-based model of primary health care have been established in a position paper from the American College of Physicians (ACP) published online Sept. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Noting that the U.S. health care system is moving toward a model of team-based care, Robert B. Doherty and Ryan A. Crowley, from the ACP in Philadelphia, discuss principles related to the professionalism, regulation, reimbursement, and research of clinical care teams in order to offer a framework for an evolving, updated approach to health care delivery.

According to the report, assignment of specific clinical and coordination responsibilities for a patient’s care within a multidisciplinary care team should be based on the patient’s best interests, matching the patient’s needs with team members best qualified to deliver specific aspects of care. In addition, the ACP affirms the importance of having access to a personal physician, trained in care of the “whole person,” who has leadership responsibilities for a health care professional team. Teams should be dynamic and have the flexibility to determine the roles and responsibilities expected of them. To most effectively serve the needs of the patient, well-functioning teams will assign responsibilities to nurses, physician assistants, and other health care professionals other than physicians for specific dimensions of care commensurate with their training and skills.

“These principles offer a framework for an evolving, updated approach to health care delivery, providing policy guidance that can be useful to clinical teams themselves in organizing their care processes and clinician responsibilities consistent with professionalism,” Molly Cooke, MD, president of the ACP, said in a statement.

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