Building an effective team in a healthcare setting is no easy feat. In healthcare, teamwork can positively or negatively affect your patients’ experience, which may lead to negative online reviews, no-shows, and a decrease in revenue. As a leader, forming and developing an effective team will help you achieve exceptional care for your patients.
Most practices are a team in the sense that the optometrists and staff members work alongside each other each day and generally get along, but true team-based care requires much more than that.
According to the study, Health care professional development: Working as a team to improve patient care, “the evolution in health care and a global demand for quality patient care necessitate a parallel health care professional development with a great focus on patient-centered teamwork approach.” To achieve this, it means you must place the patient in the center of care and through sharing a wide based culture of values and principles.
Aiming towards this goal, the motivation of team members should be backed by strategies and practical skills in order to achieve goals and overcome challenges. Effective practice teams embody the following characteristics.
To be a successful team, you need to agree on similar goals. According to this study, “the team, including the patient and, where appropriate, family members or other support persons, need to generate a common and clearly defined purpose that includes collective interests and demonstrates shared ownership.”
In an eyecare practice, a shared goal is where everyone agrees that they are working for the patient and everyone on the team knows what the individual patient's goal is. This is a true shared goal. If you lack this shared goal, it may be time to have difficult conversations with some of your staff members to help them understand the importance of this component. Without that knowledge, they won't know what to focus on and they cannot be good team members.
In your eyecare practice, there need to be clear expectations for each team member’s functions, responsibilities, and accountabilities in order to optimize the team’s efficiency. With clear roles, team members build mutual trust and respect for each other. This will create greater opportunities for shared achievement and appreciation of each other’s work. Be careful while creating defined roles to not create silos in the process. You want to avoid conversations like, “this is so and so's job.” Allowing some overlap to happen in responsibilities will work out for the team and the patient’s best interest.
Communication is the crux of a successful team. Your team needs to continuously improve upon and prioritize effective communication in all settings. Communication is crucial across your team members, but keeping communication channels open with your patients is equally as important. Using a patient portal will help keep everyone informed on your patient’s needs and the entire team will be able to work together to accomplish the patient’s goals.
A great motivator behind a successful team is the ability to measure its success over time. Reliable and timely feedback on successes and failures should be agreed upon and implemented by the team in order to track and improve performance immediately and put strategies for the future. This will help encourage team members, and it will also give you a chance to provide feedback to improve your processes.
Download our ebook for actionable steps toward hiring, training, and maintaining an expert staff.