A good reflective piece on the importance of team culture and collaboration to ensure the best possible care.
My Blood and Marrow Transplant team is a group practice so I see this in play all the time; while there are different viewpoints and approaches (and when I see differences I questioned the individual team members on them), overall I prefer it to an individual practice. While there are risks of group think, having a range of hematologists and other members of the team gives me more confidence that I benefit from a range of experience and knowledge. Quote:
All this begs the question, how did I answer the patient who asked, “what is the culture of collaboration in your group? The seven of us have worked closely together for many years, resulting in thousands of interactions and a deep understanding of each of our ideas and goals. We depend on a spirit of positive direct counsel and support, telling it like it is, especially when we believe one of our colleagues is wrong and we hear that criticism as positive correction. Key to this is that even in the worst of times, such as occur in all marriages, we treat each other with respect. Most importantly, we agree that a compassionate, academic approach, with patient need always first, is the core to our practice. For me and us, this patient’s question was easy to answer.
I have never before considered medical culture as an important factor in choosing a doctor, but I am now a fan. As I am not certain how to screen for this social skill, until someone figures out a teamwork rating system, I would suggest being direct and just ask.
- “Do you discuss cases with your partners?”
- “How do you cover each other on the weekends?”
- “How long have you been together?”
- “What do you, as a doctor, look for in other doctors?”
- “What is your culture of collaboration?”
- And finally, “Is there is a unifying philosophy that the doctors in your practice share? What is it?”