The organizational culture in a healthcare organization can lead to turf battles. Hospitals have separate departments with different perspectives and limited resources. The separate mission and perspective of a department can lead to isolation and result in a lack of communication across the hospital sections. This lack of collaboration can effect patient safety and patient care issues. However, there are ways to minimize the turf battles.
Tip #1 Develop Common Ground
First, get the different healthcare teams together and determine the common ground. For example, quality patient care and patient safety can be common ground. Individuals want to do a good job but may only see one way of accomplishing a task. Individuals may not have had the experience of allowing others from different departments to help them. Their workload could be decreased with the help of others. In fact, is there a belief that asking for help is a weakness? That belief is often present in the healthcare environment. Physician leaders will need to address that belief to foster teamwork and collaboration in a safe environment.
Tip #2 Do Not Dismiss Individual Concerns
Allow an open environment in which the concerns of the healthcare team members can be voiced. Ask questions and be curious. Discuss issues openly and see if the team can come up with a solution that is a win-win for all sides. Discuss the ‘elephant’ in the room. Often the ‘elephant’ in the room needs to be resolved before the team can move forward.
Tip #3 Use a Facilitator
Often an outside facilitator can help a group discuss controversial issues since the facilitator is a neutral party. The facilitator can ensure that no one individual or group monopolizes the conversation. The facilitator is able to observe the team dynamics and use a variety of techniques to move the conversation forward.
However, moving a healthcare team to consensus and towards a win-win solution takes time and patience. There is no magic bullet. The different perspectives must be heard and understood. The healthcare leader or physician executive sets the tone for a respectful and collaborative environment. The leader sets a direction, the reason for the direction, and possible outcomes. There is often more than one way to get to the outcome. The healthcare team through brainstorming, critical thinking and collaboration can often come up with a better solution than the thinking of one individual. The healthcare or physician leader sets the tone for an open environment and the value of collaboration and teamwork.