When Health Care Providers Look at Problems from Multiple Perspectives, Patients Benefit — Steven Maurice Clark

3 min readSep 15, 2022

Healthcare providers examine, assess and approach patients in vastly different ways. These variations can be attribute to the differences in experience, expertise or even background which leads them to pay attention to specific signals or cues. While having these different perspectives are important, they can cause misunderstandings and misdiagnosis if not dealt with appropriately.

I recently read an article published by Harvard Business Review titled “When Health Care Providers Look at Problems from Multiple Perspectives, Patients Benefit.” Having worked with healthcare providers for multidisciplinary treatment plans to bring about favourable patient outcomes, this article greatly resonated with me.

Each approach to a particular issue has its pros and cons. Thus, communication is key amongst the healthcare providers to “reach a shared understanding of a patient’s diagnosis, identify and resolve any blind spots around an issue, and develop more-robust, well-rounded treatment approaches.”

To enhance effective decision making, there are two ways which can improve communication amongst health professionals –

1. Create an environment that supports perspective sharing and effective communication among team members.

Nowadays, multidisciplinary care team model is the new norm which bring together the perspectives of different providers ( e.g. nurses, physicians etc) to treat patients. For such a model to work effectively, communication is crucial to integrate diverse perspectives. “This requires a strong cultural shift toward voicing opinions and concerns and away from the often siloed, hierarchical, and blaming culture that can predominate in health care settings.”

One way to do this is by teams practising sharing and adopting different perspectives using simulations. This can “hone the effective communication needed to make better decisions during patient care.”

One of the critical aspects for improving care is not only “bringing in different specialities” but the willingness to acknowledge different lenses. This provides a “more comprehensive view of a patient and a more robust plan for action.”

2. Build individual providers’ capacity to adopt multiple perspectives.

Many a times, individuals have to make decisions themselves and not collectively in a team. “Individuals must also practice applying different lenses to overcome the limitations of their default lens and improve their decision making.” Leaders can help by “creating more opportunities for different professions to “shadow” one another.”

“Building this intrapersonal diversity requires not only exposing providers to different experiences but also continually creating opportunities for them to apply what they learn so that they develop a habit of viewing challenging decisions through multiple lenses.”

Adopting such “perspective-expanding approaches” in healthcare, both at team and individual level, will go a long way towards reducing miscommunications and improving patient care.

Read the full article here.




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