Spilling the Secret Sauce for Inter-Professional Collaboration

Justin Kreuter, M.D., at #Transfuse18.

For Valentine’s Day, Mayo Medical Laboratories served up the secret sauce for inter-professional collaboration at #TransFuse18.

I have been involved with the TransFuse meetings for several years and am consistently impressed with the richness of the conversations when different medical specialties and professions come together.

Contrasted against the saber-rattling proclamations at our subspecialty meetings, attendees at TransFuse seem to transcend their specific roles and speak from a concern for the patient as a whole.

Let’s dissect this secret sauce and try to attribute what nurtures this collaborative environment.

First, all the attendees at TransFuse come with at least one shared value—they are all focused on optimal patient blood management (PBM). I like to think this forces all of us to start from a point of mutual respect. I’ve listened to attendees who seem to advocate for practices that seem contrary to PBM; however, after a few probing questions, it often becomes clear that the individual is responding to the idiosyncrasies of his or her particular system. This gave other attendees the opportunity to chime in with practical advice gained from similar struggles.

Panel discussion at #Transfuse18.

Second, attendees at TransFuse develop a better understanding of how our different roles in PBM address each patient’s needs. The conference organizers consciously invited and facilitated balanced participation from several different members of the health care team. This puts a spotlight on the different roles and responsibilities that each of us occupy.

Third, the environment at TransFuse is set up to encourage participation and reinforce takeaway points. This is most salient during the panel discussions, when the three previous speakers are invited on stage to facilitate a discussion of relevant points. As the guy running around with the wireless microphone, it was brilliant to see the conversation energetically bounce among attendees and panelists. Each panel prompted a responsive discussion, typically lasting about 45 minutes.

Tour of the U.S. Military Battlefield Health and Trauma Institute.

Fourth, maybe it was the tour of the U.S. Military Battlefield Health and Trauma Institute, but attendees seemed to coalesce into a team evaluating how to plan and deliver optimal PBM efforts.

As we can see with TransFuse, starting with a shared purpose and ending as a team are important bookends to any inter-professional collaboration.

To recap, four keys for successful inter-professional collaboration are:

  1. Begin by explicitly calling attention to the shared value.
  2. Build appreciation for different roles via respectful listening and asking questions from a position of curiosity.
  3. Make participation an easy and positive experience by highlighting takeaway points.
  4. Permeate the language of teamwork and collaboration throughout the experience.

Do you have any additional keys for inter-professional collaboration? Please share your comment below, and see you at TransFuse 2020.

Justin Kreuter

Justin Kreuter, M.D., is a clinical pathologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His practice consists of both general and subspecialty aspects of clinical pathology. At Federal Medical Center-Rochester, Dr. Kreuter runs the general laboratory that supports a local in-patient population and does a large amount of reference work. At Mayo Clinic, Dr. Kreuter's time is split between the transfusion medicine service and transplant laboratory. In addition to clinical activities, his academic interests include several aspects of medical education, including teaching clinical judgment, frameworks for feedback, and reflection in medical practice.