Criterion C3.4 – Practice communication and teamwork

        1. Criterion C3.4 – Practice communication and teamwork

Indicator


C3.4 A Our practice team has the opportunity to discuss administrative matters with the principal practitioners, practice directors, practice management, or owners when necessary.

C3.4 B Our practice encourages involvement and input from all members of the practice team.

C3.4 C Our clinical team discusses the practice’s clinical issues and support systems.

Why this is important

Teamwork

Research in Australia and the USA confirms that effective teamwork helps organisations to successfully implement safety initiatives,16 and that bullying and harassment can be a significant threat to quality care and patient safety.17 Therefore, your practice needs to not only cultivate a just, open and supportive culture that preserves and values individual accountability and integrity, it also needs to foster a whole-of-team approach to quality patient care. For example, regular discussions where all members of the practice team are encouraged to contribute their ideas and observations can help to build a high performing team and a positive workplace culture that effectively deals with bullying and harassment.

Having clinical guidelines and appropriate support systems that facilitate discussions helps to identify and address clinical issues and deliver consistent and quality care.

Meeting this Criterion

Teamwork

The most common way for practices to build teamwork is to schedule regular meetings where all members of the practice team are encouraged to contribute to discussions. For small practices, this can be an informal discussion at regular intervals, such as at the end of every week.

It is a good idea to document the decisions made at team meetings and the names of those responsible for implementing related actions.

Where relevant, provide all members of the practice team with the opportunity to discuss administrative issues with the practice directors and/or owners when necessary. When the practice owner is not a member of the practice, the practice team could develop systems for discussing administrative matters with the owner. Although these discussions do not necessarily need to occur as a formal meeting, formal meetings are recommended, particularly for medium and large practices.

Good communication between the manager/employer and the practice team will help to create an efficient and productive workplace where there are positive working relationships. This will result in long-term benefits for the practice, the practice team and patients.

Good communication between members of the clinical team can be achieved with face-to-face meetings. Communication tools such as message systems and notice boards can be used to record clinical issues and ideas. The clinical team must have access to up-to-date resources on a range of clinical issues in order to improve the treatment of patients and for their own professional development.

Meeting each Indicator

C3.4 A Our practice team has the opportunity to discuss administrative matters with the principal practitioners, practice directors, practice management, or owners when necessary.

You must:

  • develop a process for the practice team to escalate issues
  • provide evidence that the practice team has had opportunities to discuss administrative matters.

You could:

  • keep a record of meetings.

C3.4 B Our practice encourages involvement and input from all members of the practice team.

You must:

  • make the practice team aware of the practice’s communication channels they can use to provide input
  • develop a process for the practice team to escalate issues.

You could:

  • encourage all practice team members to attend team meetings
  • keep a record of meetings
  • inform prospective and current members of the practice team during recruitment interviews and inductions that they are encouraged to provide input and feedback about improving business operations.

C3.4 C Our clinical team discusses the practice’s clinical issues and support systems.

You must:

  • make the clinical team aware of the practice’s clinical communication processes.

You could:

  • keep a record of clinical team meetings
  • create and document a buddy system
  • use the practice’s intranet or email to facilitate discussions.