Mastering the medical mindshift: A team must be more than a label

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

In their external presentation, practice owners like to talk about their „team“. But practice management comparisons show that most practices do not really have teams.

The team fallacy

In medical practices, the current average Teamwork Quality Score (TQS) – the ratio that describes the satisfaction of medical assistants with the teamwork determinants and their requirements – is just under 44% (optimum: 100%). This is not surprising, as the leadership intensity is currently only 39% (LMQS: Leadership Materialisation Quality

Score, the use of leadership instruments compared to the best practice standard).

Teamwork, which falls into this area, describes the working form of the group. It is characterised by a low synergy of individual activities: people work together, but only within the framework that is given. Individual initiative or helping out with problems are rather rare. Moreover, the cooperation is often characterised by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do her job well, there is no sustained commitment to continuous improvement.

Collaboration only becomes productive with a TQS of 60%.

Practice owners only benefit from the synergy and motivational effects of collaboration from a TQS of 60%. From this level

  • the organisation functions better and there are fewer clerical errors and duplication of work,
  • due to the operational self-control abilities of their medical assistants, practice owners are hardly burdened by non-medical day-to-day business,
  • there is almost no overtime,
  • stress levels are lower and
  • patients are clearly more satisfied and the recommendation rate is also higher.

What makes teams

Real“ teams are characterised by three things:

There is teamwork

i.e. the work to be done is divided between the team members in the best possible way. The task of management here is to coordinate the individual work frameworks and to enable the employees to complete the tasks arising in practice as independently as possible. Teamwork differs from teamwork or group work in that the combination of the individual performances of the staff members results in an overall performance that is qualitatively and quantitatively better than the mere sum of the individual performances. Teamwork is characterised by a synergistic pooling of skills, commitment, behaviour and performance. The simplest form of synergy is that one staff member stands in for any other, even if it is not her area of responsibility. In a „real“ team, the work goals of the staff members are no longer focused solely or to a large extent on themselves, but on the team, i.e. practice performance.The basis of teamwork is a definition of the tasks to be done and the allocation of the tasks to the employees.

There is a team spirit

i.e. the team members follow the same goals, ideals and ideas, e.g. with regard to the quality of the work, the keeping of promises or with regard to the friendliness in dealing with patients. Creating team spirit is thus nothing other than creating shared values. Leadership, from this point of view, aims to ensure that the individual working frameworks of the staff members are aligned so that they follow the same guidelines within the team working framework. Three benefits can be gained through the creation of a team spirit:

  • Orientation: with the help of shared values, it is transparent to staff what is and is not important in their work performance.
  • Drive: shared values are worth striving for and require continuous commitment in order to last.
  • Coordination: values act as standards that guide collaboration and work flow.

There is team harmony

i.e. the team members accept and respect each other. In this context, leadership must primarily work towards the compatibility of the different types of staff and towards functioning conflict resolution mechanisms.

What practice owners can do

GPs and specialists who want to use the success principle of „teamwork“ for their businesses must first know the teamwork status of their staff. A validated and simple way is to use the Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Medical Practice“, a procedure that is also very accepted because no staff member has to „come out“. The associated expertise then describes in detail which measures and instruments should be used if team status has not yet been achieved.

All information on the Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Medical Practice“ in the overview (German)…