Increasingly, care is being provided by collaborative teams. While this model of healthcare delivery has the potential to provide better outcomes for patients and to improve efficiency, accountability and liability concerns are often cited as challenges to collaborative care.
In "Collaborative care and medical monitoring: Who's responsible?", cases are described in which several healthcare professionals were involved in managing patients' medications and where errors took place during transfers of care.
In "Transfer of care can create problems," a case illustrates the potential for harm that can result during transfers of care, in this case resulting in neurological sequelae due to Addison's disease.
In "Relying on hospital staff", case examples illustrate the legal principle that a physician is entitled to expect that other healthcare professionals will perform their duties properly, and of the risks that may occur when teams work in unfamiliar environments or with unfamiliar equipment.
In "Shared care: issues you should consider," suggestions for collaborative care are given, such as when each team member's role and responsibilities are clearly defined and communicated to all members of the team and to patients.
In "The importance of inter-specialty communication", the CMPA advises that good patient care depends on good communication among members of a healthcare team, particularly when there are multiple conditions being treated by multiple physicians.
In "Shared care between ophthalmologists and optometrists", the CMPA advises that it is the ophthalmologist's duty to be satisfied that follow-up care can be adequately provided by an optometrist. However, as each physician or independent healthcare professional is responsible for his or her own actions, the ophthalmologist will not usually be held responsible for the care provided by an optometrist.
The CMPA handbook Collaborative care: A medical liability perspective contains a comprehensive discussion on liability issues related to collaborative care.
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