Orthopaedic Surgery is a Team Sport!

It Takes a Community to Care for a Patient

At the recent American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting in Chicago, the word “collaboration” was being kicked around like a soccer ball.

Organizational behavior consultants, marketing consultants and business professionals having been emphasizing the importance of “teamwork” and “collaboration” in the literature for years!surgery

Although surgery itself takes a team to perform, many orthopaedic surgeons in Canada work as independent practitioners within a private practice and share hospital responsibilities with a small group of other surgeons, sharing the call schedule and collaborating on difficult surgical cases.

However, although we don’t practice in a bubble, we do tend to be the lone wolf in our subs-specialty areas unless we make a point of collaborating and consulting with peers.

In a recent post in the ezine “The Pipeline” by Katie Rief of the Advisory Board Company, take-away comments were presented from the AAOS meeting which emphasized the changing role of the orthopaedic surgeon as a team player.

Says Ms. Rief, “Surgeons are interested in building efficient, dedicated care teams. This is true in the OR as well as in the clinic.”

So what does my team look like?

My core team is me and my two office partners, Dr. Rodriguez-Elizalde who specializes in trauma and joint replacement surgery, and Dr. Cayen who specializes in sport IMG_65medicine and joint replacement surgery, as well as our administrative assistants. We share an office, our staff work side by side, and we all work at the same hospital–Humber River Regional (Church Street Site).

The next team layer include our cast techs in fracture clinic, operating room nurses, anesthesia colleagues, sales representatives from our surgical instrument and implant companies, surgical unit nurses and pre/post operative nursing staff as well as other orthopaedic surgical colleagues at both the Finch and Church sites whom we work with to provide orthopaedic surgical services to our 800,000 catchment area in North York.

Beyond this is the layer that encompasses all support services–hospital services, computer and networking services, laboratory and diagnostic radiology services and the companies who provide us implants and products we need to do our jobs. This layer also includes the insurance companies, including OHIP.

Each of Us Brings a Unique Skill to the Team

On any given day, at least 6 or 8 people are working with me to get my job done, as I work them to get their job tasks accomplished. This coordinated concerted effort constitutes the “inputs” and quality patient care is the “output”.

So although we might seem to practice independently, it takes a community to care for patient–each with a unique but interrelated job.






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