Health care systems are experiencing significant changes and stress that require innovative skilled teams. In fact, integrated teams, accountable care organizations and medical home models are being formed and piloted to provide quality patient care at a reduced cost. These health care delivery models will need teams that can work together. This article will discuss 3 strategies that teams can implement to work better together.
Strategy 1: Identify the Rules of Engagement (ROE)
Teams need to set up the standards and expectations that they will follow when they work together. These standards and expectations are the rules of engagement. All team members should participate in formulating the ROE. When individuals participate in the formulation process, buy-in and accountability are maximized. Examples of ROE statements include:
- Respect for others
- Not interrupting others when they are speaking
- No name calling
- Coming prepared for meetings
- Accomplishing assignments and task on time
- Meeting deadlines
Have team members agree to and sign the ROE.
Strategy 2: Strengthen the Relationships of Team Members
Strong team member relationships promote effective working relationships. It is essential that health care teams develop working relationships that promote patient safety and quality patient care. Create activities that promote positive interpersonal interactions. Such activities include: workshops, lunch and dinner, celebrations, concerts and strategy sessions. Survey the team members to determine which activities they enjoy and would like to participate in as a group. Provide a diversity of activities.
Do you remember a time when you were a member of a team and felt a strong relationship with the team members? How were the relationships developed and sustained? What activities and behaviors promoted the positive interactions? How can you use these experiences to strengthen the interactions with your present team?
Strategy 3: Create a Compelling Vision with Goals that Stretch
Teams that work well together have a compelling purpose and vision to keep their eye on. In health care the vision of providing quality patient care is a compelling vision. Individuals enter the health care field to help others. The majority of health care professionals are motivated to help others who are ill and provide the best compassionate patient care.
Set up goals that stretch the team. The goals should be specific, realistic and measurable. Teams that work together towards a goal develop a sense of purpose and mission. The teams develop a sense of commitment and accomplishment that bring team members together. The team experiences a sense of cohesion that can be sustained.