Collaboration in Patient Care

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Are You Up to Standard?, Messenger

Most physicians are part of a multi-disciplinary patient care team. Not only are the scopes of practice of health care professionals changing, complementary and alternative care providers may also be part of the patient care picture. How does this affect the physician’s role? What should you do when a patient comes to you with advice or a request from another care provider you feel is inappropriate or unnecessary? The Code of Ethics provides the basis for the College’s Standard of Practice for collaboration in patient care:Consider first the well-being of the patient. Part of this is working well with other members of the patient’s health care team. In practical terms, collaboration means you are expected to:

  • communicate with the physicians, regulated health professionals and others on the patient care team to ensure that the patient receives coordinated care
  • treat every member of the team with dignity and respect
  • document your contribution to the patient’s care
  • clearly explain to the patient your role and responsibilities

Collaboration does not mean that you should comply with advice or requests you don’t feel are in the patient’s best interest.

Use your professional judgment in providing medical care and advice and clearly explain your position to the patient. Respect and communication are key, both between you and other care providers, and between you and your patient.