ABSTRACT: Creating collaborative learning environments for transforming primary care practices now
The renewal of primary care waits just ahead. The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) movement and a refreshing breeze of collaboration signal its arrival with demonstration projects and pilots appearing across the country. An early message from this work suggests that the development of collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams may be essential for the success of the PCMH. Our focus in this article is on training existing health care professionals toward being thriving members of this transformed clinical care team in a relationship-centered PCMH. Our description of the optimal conditions for collaborative training begins with delineating three types of teams and how they relate to levels of collaboration. We then describe how to create a supportive, safe learning environment for this type of training, using a different model of professional socialization, and tools for building culture. Critical skills related to practice development and the cross-disciplinary collaborative processes are also included. Despite significant obstacles in readying current clinicians to be members of thriving collaborative teams, a few next steps toward implementing collaborative training programs for existing professionals are possible using competency-based and adult learning approaches. Grasping the long awaited arrival of collaborative primary health care will also require delivery system and payment reform. Until that happens, there is an abundance of work to be done envisioning new collaborative training programs and initiating a nation-wide effort to motivate and reeducate our colleagues.