Interdisciplinary healthcare teams have emerged in response to dilemmas that arise when healthcare professionals operate in their own silos. The benefits of interdisciplinary teams has been widely touted as the answer to patient safety and other desirable health outcomes. The 2001 Institute of Medicine report identified six dimensions for quality 21st century healthcare: safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable. This paper explores the dynamics of interdisciplinary care teams in healthcare organizations in the United States. It is hypothesizes that, when an interdisciplinary care team model is used, patient outcomes and staff satisfaction will improve. Based on the review of the existing research literature, the impacts of interdisciplinary teams on the key patient outcomes is examined: inpatient length of stay (LOS), readmission rates, medical errors and team communication, rates of Adverse Drug Events (ADEs. Further the impact of interdisciplinary teams on staff attitudes and satisfaction, interdisciplinary collaboration, and overall patient satisfaction are examined for their subsequent impact on healthcare outcomes.

In this review, some clear benefits of interdisciplinary care were found relative to a decline in length of stay, decrease in adverse drug events, and improvements in staff communication with other team members. There was no positive relationship with readmission rate and not all professionals experienced the same degree of satisfaction with communications within the team.