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4 Ways to Improve Efficiencies in Your Healthcare Practice
The ongoing collaboration of your medical staff is critical to the successful operations of your facility and the delivery of quality treatment to your patients. Ongoing education can help improve a medical practitioner’s ability to collaborate with other staff members, partners, and consultants both on location and remotely. Collaboration and communication within your medical practice can increase office efficiencies as well as improve the patient experience.
Collaboration is vital to the health care system because it helps spur collaborative teamwork. Well-coordinated collaboration across medical professions at your practice has the potential to allow for more comprehensive, population-based, cost-effective patient care and a new emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, which will be essential in meeting ongoing healthcare challenges.
An appropriately synched team when it comes to communicating their needs will be more effective at executing their role daily, especially when it comes to the ongoing improvement of the care delivered to your network of patients.
During a multiple-day hospital stay, a patient may interact with 50 different employees, including physicians, nurses, technicians, and others. Therefore, focusing on a high level of collaboration among teams at your facility is critical for the success of your patients during their stay.
This level of collaboration helps build trust among different professionals and educates them regarding each individual’s strengths and weaknesses that make up the organization and their team. This understanding can help medical staff perform their duties more efficiently and, therefore, continue to succeed.
Define Your Collaborative Approach to Health Care
A collaborative team is best defined as a group of medical practitioners from different professions who share patients and patient care goals and have responsibilities for complementary tasks on an ongoing basis. Establish what these teams will look like at your organization to begin setting your staff and coworkers up for success.
This team should be actively interdependent with a convenient means of communicating with other team members, patients, and families to ensure that all the various aspects of patients’ health care needs are integrated and addressed for the future. Technology like mobile devices makes communication more robust, strengthening the bonds between internal and external team members.
Each staff member should recognize that this collaborative team approach is unique compared to other techniques where healthcare professionals work independently without input from other practitioners.
Delegate the Roles of Each Team Member, Respect Job Roles
The education of a health professional is separated mainly by profession, limiting the knowledge one staff member has about the skill set of another and potentially causing future problems.
Medical students have few opportunities to learn about other medical professions since their time is already minimal with a full schedule of classes, internships, and everything else it takes to master their field.
Learning to understand the roles and responsibilities of other professionals is necessary to function effectively on any team, especially in health care, because the team’s success lies in providing quality treatment to patients.
While medical training and legal scopes of practice like HIPA largely determine a person’s role at a health care facility, the skills of various primary care practitioners overlap to some extent in many cases. Most health care professionals have expertise in patient interaction, developing care plans, and educating patients on future treatment and best practices for their continued health and well-being.
Therefore, it’s essential to define the roles of each member of your team, past what their actual job title is, but instead on how they will assist others in dealing with the existing problems plaguing patients. The smaller the practice, the more likely it is that each role will be further blurred, and there may need stricter clarifications of who handles what to ensure ongoing collaboration.
Each team member should clearly understand the role of the more common positions in health care like nurses, physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, dentists, dietitians, and psychologists. This is important to establish as a baseline to help each team member effectively communicate with one another.
Assign Specific Responsibilities and Tasks
In a perfect world, medical students would learn about the essential components of collaboration concerning coordination, communication, and shared responsibility. Unfortunately, in some cases, this is taught before entering the workforce, and in others, it must be reinforced in the field on an ongoing basis.
The first step in coordination is determining which team members will be responsible for a particular patient problem. Because the team’s focus should be on the patient’s needs, patient care goals determine the makeup of your team and the responsibilities each team member has to address these patient problems. Using referral management software from ReferralMD can help manage this process electronically.
It is crucial to coordinate with the patient family members as partners on this team to ensure they are educated on the patient’s help and best address ongoing care. Sharing the supervision of an individual patient will help give them a 360-degree approach to their treatment and overall health care experience.
Effective communication is needed to facilitate coordinated care at all times. An ideal communication system would include:
- A well-designed digital filing system.
- Regularly scheduled meetings to discuss patient care issues around the clock.
- A mechanism for communicating with external systems.
As stated previously, technology today has helped dramatically impact and improve the ability to communicate today. With the continued expansion of the connected revolution, more devices are entering the healthcare industry to help create one ecosystem of devices that consistently communicate with one another to link facilities, patients, and staff members globally.
Sharing responsibility deals with issues related to leadership and decision-making for your collaborative unit. For example, physicians are historically the leaders and primary decision-makers in health care because of their many legal responsibilities for patient care decisions. Still, often it’s essential to understand the hierarchy of leadership and share the commitment to deliver world-class care.
Extensive education and training should be disseminated among staff members and not reserved solely for use by top physicians and administrators. The constantly evolving nature of patient care problems determines who will take on the leadership roles among your collaborative teams and how decision-making will be shared at different levels across the organization.
- Practice Collaborating, Handling Conflicts and Working Towards Improvement
Collaboration among team members who have different perspectives and areas of expertise often results in fresh insights and solutions to problems that rarely get achieved by one health professional working in a silo.
Each member of the staff should become aware that because of the professional diversity present on the team, differences of opinion and conflict are not only inevitable but are essential for the continued growth of your collaboration hence why it is so essential to practice and educate on how to deal with these types of issues.
At times conflict can encourage innovation and creative problem-solving if approached correctly. However, conflict needs to be constructive, build trust and understanding among team members over time, and turn issues into helpful solutions.
Failure to adequately address these conflicts can cause more issues to arise and affect the overall morale of your staff, turning one problem into many quite quickly.
To combat these issues, train team members about conflict resolution and continually improve the care and problem solving you’re delivering. Again, with your coordinated collaboration system in place, this should be easy to organize but more challenging to address and execute consistently.
It’s an ongoing process that’s never finished, which is often why learning how to resolve conflicts and improving the care you’re delivering daily can often be quite frustrating, even if the final results are gratifying.