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How to Build an Effective Team in a Health Care Setting

health care team

Health care leaders employ innovative practices to build effective care provider teams. As time goes on, service delivery responsibility increasingly falls on qualified team members. Leaders guide these team members by example, with actions instilling the collaborative effort required to deliver satisfactory healthcare services. Leaders also provide measurable objectives as a resource to help guide team members in excellent service delivery and continually educate employees in critical skills, such as communication and relationship building. Due to steadily increasing service demand, caregiving organizations rely on these innovative healthcare leaders to develop individuals’ strengths, while continuing to meet caregiving objectives.

A New Focus on Teamwork

Physicians have historically acted as the focal point around which all caregiving institutions focus. [1] This scenario is changing as a limited physician talent pool opens the door for various advanced practitioners to fill service delivery gaps. The medical community has come to understand the collaboration required among these professionals to improve patient outcomes, especially in the contemporary healthcare setting where service demand is on a steep rise. To fulfill this objective, healthcare leaders focus on fostering teamwork in the workplace to reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.

Teamwork improves morale and organizational productivity. Therefore, healthcare leaders guide employees through steps promoting solidarity. Particularly during new team formation, individuals have yet to develop trust and camaraderie. Before this occurs, the environment is ripe for misunderstandings and conflicts. Over time, team members learn to accept each other and the policies governing the workplace and eventually develop a rapport where trust is high and focus is on performance. During these transitions, healthcare leaders employ several team-building techniques to create an environment where relationships flourish, while ensuring effective organizational service delivery.

By exhibiting exceptional ethics and morality, healthcare leaders set the bar for workplace conduct and attitude. These professionals exercise fair treatment to all individuals they encounter.

When employees freely pursue upward mobility, patients and healthcare organizations benefit with increased human capital. Individual professional growth results in talent producing positive results free from constant supervision. Leaders support this environment by encouraging untapped talent and providing career-advancing tools.

Employees recognize, relate to and emulate open and sincere leadership organizational support. To inspire team members, leaders also take every appropriate opportunity to distinguish employees who help the organization meet objectives.

Effective healthcare leaders promote top-notch performance among staff members by supporting policies that reduce medical errors and produce positive patient outcomes. When patient satisfaction is a high priority among healthcare leaders, employees enthusiastically work to meet this objective.

Leaders enforce a patient satisfaction culture with respect and empathy, empowering staff members to feel a real desire to meet company objectives. However, this process begins with joint participation in the decision-making process. Within reason, healthcare leaders incorporate staff member ideals into company policies and maintain an environment where all relevant stakeholders quickly learn about accomplishments and errors, resulting in regular learning opportunities. Finally, by continually encouraging advancement, leaders embolden employees to adopt new policies and ideas as a unified group.

Team-oriented Goal Setting

Medicine is a collaborative effort among patients, service providers, care providers and family members. [2] However, team members require definitive goals to produce this outcome. Leaders provide this through verbalization and written policy.

While caregiving objectives seem evident, without group consensus and documented formalization, an organization is unlikely to produce desired outcomes. Team leaders clearly establish objectives and accountability to ensure organizational productivity.

The objectives incorporate how all stakeholders influence service delivery outcomes. By incorporating how stakeholders impact service outcomes, healthcare leaders maximize organizational productivity by exploring and discovering all resources available to deliver services.

Integrating external providers into patient care plans represents the latest thinking in service delivery. By fostering an environment where team members think about service delivery from patients’ perspectives, leaders develop team atmospheres that support client concerns. This practice promotes participation among clients and produces a work setting where all stakeholders effectively contribute to positive patient outcomes. Identifying stakeholders begins the moment a patient enters the intake process. Using this concept, healthcare leaders maximize every potential resource to deliver patient services.

Set the Bar

Measurable goals help organizations reduce errors, service delivery time and wasted resources, while concurrently increasing patient satisfaction. [3] The new healthcare environment makes this practice even more relevant as many new processes evolve with no historical precedent. Quantifiable goals increase employee focus and commitment and allow organizations to efficiently allocate resources. Solidified objectives also help organizations determine whether current policies and procedures produce effective results.

Maximizing human capital is the key to delivering optimal healthcare services. Providing growth opportunities is a secondary, however critical, objective. Healthcare leaders improve team performance by establishing growth expectations. Although clients do not explicitly understanding why, an educated talent pool substantially increases patient satisfaction. Therefore, leaders use empirical evidence to manage employee skill sets throughout their entire organizational career cycle.

Ignoring empirical performance metrics leads to waste and counter productivity. Corporate performance policies lacking direction and conviction produce almost as much inefficiency. Healthcare leaders develop and monitor formalized employee performance goals to compare talent productivity to organizational objectives. This practice facilitates identification and response to employee and organizational strengths and weaknesses.

Learned Communication Skills

To prevent misunderstandings and errors, leaders practice and teach effective communication. [4] Medical errors remain a significant contributor to patient mortalities. Almost all medical errors result from miscommunication. Often, these mortalities result from events not related to patients’ current illnesses. Effective communication reduces these occurrences and increases positive patient outcomes. Caregiving organizations have experienced markedly improved patient outcomes after establishing formal guidelines for communicating patient information. Healthcare leaders establish training and implementation of these policies to help team members deliver effective services.
Society is familiar with medical professionals’ skill at soliciting information with warmth and compassion during service delivery. However, team members can enhance these skills with further education. Duly, healthcare leaders educate caregivers in skills, such as:

  • Clarification
  • Open-ended questioning
  • Patient focus
  • Screening

Leaders also train caregivers to realize how much information clients can process and relay. These enhanced skills allow healthcare professionals to effectively communicate with clients.
Understanding these principles in theory is not the same as practicing them in the workplace every day. Therefore, healthcare leaders evaluate and monitor team members for communication effectiveness. By providing the latest theories and training in communication skills, leaders help team members relate to and understand clients and each other.

Encouraging Respect and Trust

Healthcare leaders build mutual respect and trust with each interaction they experience with clients and staff members. [5] Staff members and patients relate to conversations in which they feel respected and valued. Sincere two-way conversations build the trust necessary to deliver effective services and build professional rapport. Leaders possess strong communication skills, allowing them to connect with others and produce positive results.

In this environment, healthcare leaders train team members to pursue trust-building opportunities whenever possible by making every effort to ensure consistent, effective communication. In a fast-paced caregiving environment, it is sometimes easy to forget to listen attentively. However, poor communication inexorably wastes time.

Today’s leaders know how important it is to teach caregivers to listen first, even if a response seems readily apparent. Allowing clients and peers to voice opinions and ideas first allows employees to build trust by demonstrating authentic empathy. Mutual empathy and true understanding help stakeholders work together to meet common objectives, which decisively leads to positive patient outcomes. Healthcare leaders support this environment, because mutual respect and trust increase resilience and commitment among team members. Therefore, healthcare leaders educate employees in critical listening skills.

Determining, Identifying and Assigning Specific Roles

Individuals from different medical disciplines serve varying functions on inter-departmental teams. [2] Additionally, these individuals originate from various cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Furthermore, each team member absorbs different work cultures with every career transition.

Heathcare leaders recognize these differences and teach team members how to see the value offered by individual experiences. By nurturing a team oriented work setting, leaders teach employees to incorporate collaboration into their skill sets. Leaders also foster understanding by creating opportunities for employees to work with other disciplines. This practice helps team leaders educate employees on others roles and develop professional self-awareness.

Leaders guide team members in establishing their roles among all stakeholders for a given client. Over time, employees learn to foresee many possibilities regarding stakeholder contributions and needs. This understanding helps team members to address clients’ cultural, spiritual and emotional necessities.

Some needs extend beyond the service delivery setting, where team members must decipher the best way home health aides or family members can help clients recover. These situations require team members to assess the skills possessed by those individuals. For these circumstances, healthcare leaders educate team members on how to evaluate external stakeholders’ ability to provide continuing healthcare service.

As healthcare advances, researchers continue to introduce innovations to improve team member productivity and patient outcomes. This is critical now more than ever, as more non-physician personnel deliver important healthcare services. Contemporary leaders understand that team members observe the actions of their superiors to learn how to conduct themselves in the workplace. Therefore, leaders participate in and encourage collaboration in the medical setting. Healthcare leaders develop and implement policies, procedures and guidelines governing service delivery. They also educate team members in the skills required to produce positive patient outcomes. Through mutual respect and trust, leaders foster cooperation that helps team members deliver quality service. As demand for patient services increases in the United States, caregiving institutions’ need for leaders with the competency to build and guide effective teams will continue rising sharply.

Learn More

At Regis, we give you more pathways to pursue your goals in healthcare administration. As a dedicated leader of health administration education, we welcome ambition-driven, self-motivated professionals like you from all health care settings. Gain special insight into areas like management, communications, health informatics, and health policy through our Online Master of Health Administration.

Sources:

[1] http://www.who.int/patientsafety/education/curriculum/who_mc_topic-4.pdf
[2] https://www.nationalahec.org/pdfs/vsrt-team-based-care-principles-values.pdf
[3] http://education.healthcaresource.com/optimizing-healthcare-talent-management-with-lean-principles/
[4] http://online.seu.edu/effective-communication-in-nursing/
[5] http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/managed-healthcare-executive/news/five-ways-effective-teams-transform-healthcare