Teamwork: These insights are essential to the success of a medical practice

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

Apart from a smoothly functioning organisation, probably the most important factor for the success of a medical practice is that the medical assistants work together as a team. Unfortunately, however, this setting is only found in very few practices.

Group instead of team

Self-control, synergies, motivation, creativity, efficiency, productivity, relief of the practice owner, pronounced patient satisfaction: the list of advantages of excellent teamwork is long. But as often as people talk about practice staff as a team, this does not correspond to reality. In most practices, according to the results of the IFABS Betriebsvergleich-Tracker© for GP, specialist and dental practice management, the form of cooperation can be classified as a 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, cooperation is often characterised by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do her job well, there is no lasting commitment to constant improvement. If such a state or even just a community of purpose is diagnosed, urgent action must be taken.

Team Insights

A check of teamwork quality is still a rarity in German medical practices. When staff surveys are conducted, the results are mainly based on school grades or other simple scales, which, however, do not capture reality at all. The information for this is provided by a set of key performance indicators (KPI), which can be easily determined by means of a practice management benchmarking:

  • Team Experience Portfolio (TEP)

What is the current self-image of the team members, broken down into a description of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as a result of previous cooperation experiences?

  • Job Satisfaction Score (JSC)

How pronounced is the general job satisfaction of the team members?

  • Team Harmony Balance (THB)

How pronounced is the degree of agreement among team members in evaluating their work framework? This information can also be used as an indicator of the potential for conflict within the team.

  • Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

How far has the quality of cooperation been developed in terms of implementing „real“ teamwork? This can be used to determine whether staff actually collaborate as a team or merely as a community, group or special-purpose association.

  • Overall Team Satisfaction (OTS)

How do staff generally rate their operating framework compared to their requirements? The value is calculated from the weighting of the TQS with the JSC.

  • Return on Management (ROM)

What impact do the team building measures have on teamwork quality?

  • Team Development Options (TDO)

What ideas and suggestions exist from the employee’s point of view that help to further improve teamwork.

The typology of team members

With the help of the TQS value, a team member typology can be created, shown on the cover as an example for a conservative ophthalmology practice with seven MFAs. From the data it becomes clear that the cooperation of the staff of this practice is clearly disturbed, because

  • There are no female staff members who function as bearing pillars. This type stands unreservedly and sometimes somewhat uncompromisingly behind the team and also carries the idea to the outside. The team is a kind of ideal home for such members.
  • The two keepers cannot compensate for this missing effect. These members are characterised by the fact that although they stand behind the team idea, they also have aspects that they do not like and which, from their point of view, should be changed. Often they cannot change anything because other, less committed colleagues prevent them from doing so or because they themselves do not want to become active because they fear getting into conflicts.
  • Three doubters also characterise the team structure. For them, there are many points of departure that they do not like about working together in the existing constellation. That is why they only contribute themselves and their work to the team as much as is necessary, but do not get involved beyond that.
  • The two critics work in the team, but without contributing anything to the cohesion. They are not interested in this either. They tend to have a negative view of their workplace and do their job by the book.

Easy to determine status

For GP and specialist practice owners, it is extremely important to determine the structure of their workforce, as this largely determines the efficiency, productivity and success of the work. If it is known, simple measures and instruments can be used to counteract it. Doctors who would like to carry out such a status determination, which also determines the corresponding change measures, if necessary, can use the Practice Management Comparison© for this purpose, with the help of which all other action areas of practice management can also be analysed and optimised.