Thursday, October 18, 2012

Task Management, the Foundation for Teamwork

True Teamwork can only be achieved through transparency, accountability and reliable communication. A good task management system not only provides these things but is mandatory for sustainable teamwork and patient loyalty.
Obstacles to Effective Teamwork
When a practice's staff members are unable to communicate their activities and coordinate together there are risks of tasks falling to the side and remaining incomplete while other tasks may be unnecessarily duplicated, wasting precious staff resources. For example, if front office staff are unsure when vital patient information is missing, critical data can be overlooked and patients can become frustrated by later attempts to gather this information. The opposite problem can also arise. Front office staff can end up making multiple request for patient information which can also create frustration and paint a picture of disorganization and chaos. All members of the team must learn to communicate effectively and have clear understanding of their respective responsibilities or tasks. As a team, they must function together to get tasks accomplished in an efficient and professional manner.
Consider for a moment the average hourly rate a chiropractor can earn at optimum capacity. If a void in the cohesiveness of the team causes the Dr. just a few hours time wasted on unnecessary administrative tasks, that can quickly become several hours per month, or thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Few practices can afford to be throwing money out of the window because of difficulties that could otherwise be easily resolved.
Poll shows teamwork to be number #1 concern among Chiropractic practice owners.
A lack of cohesiveness in a practice plagues many offices. Roughly one-third of participants in a recent survey indicated that it was the biggest problem facing their team. Of the group who indicated this was their problem, the largest single category was managers. Managers, who are responsible for overseeing the rest of the organization, easily recognize the negative effects brought about by a staff lacking teamwork. It is also interesting to note that in this same survey, only 16 percent of participants indicated that task management was the biggest problem in their practice. This clearly indicates many practice managers do not perceive task management to be a necessary component of teamwork. Between all five options, nearly half of all of those who participated in the survey indicated that issues related to teamwork were negatively affecting their practice performance.
Building teamwork within a practice
Once a particular office has come to understand the difficulties that can be caused by a lack of teamwork, it is natural that they look for solutions to help encourage the building of these essential relationships.
When considering teamwork not only should interpersonal relationships between those working in your be examined but we should also examine accountability and transparency. When the work environment becomes transparent, communication flows more naturally between members of your staff. Management can make this possible by adopting both technology and methodologies that are task management centric. By offering recognition for tasks that have been completed and making transparent tasks that are neglected a practice builds task ownership among individual staff members.
The manager should also look for ways to clearly communicate job roles and expectations. "By sharing numbers with employees, not just executives, you can increase employees' sense of ownership. However, being open is not enough. You need to be sure your employees are trained... and have enough insight into their own jobs to know how to affect the numbers (bottom line)." - Torben Rick. It may be a good idea to review job descriptions and interview members of the office to hear their understanding and perspective.
Software solutions that offer integrated task management functions are excellent options which allow managers and others in the office to track what is being done and by whom. For example, when the information that is gathered by a doctor's assistant or nurse is passed along to the staff member at the front desk, this will be documented. Tasks can be tracked making it easy to see exactly what stage they are in, who has them, and how close they are to being completed.
Neglecting teamwork can be devastating to any office. Employees need to successfully work together to build an environment of efficiency and productivity. When there is a void in workflow/ task management there are always consequences to the practice's bottom line, patient satisfaction, the work environment, and more. Making this cohesiveness a priority allows practice staff to take their Chiropractic organization to the next level.

1 comment:

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