Improving Healthcare Through Teamwork


Eskildson, Loyd; Yates, Gary, M.D.   (1991, ASQC)   Maricopa County Health Plan, Phoenix, AZ

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9724    May 1991    pp. 686-691
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Article Abstract

This paper discusses factors that contribute to teamwork problems in the health care industry: (1) physician and hospital incentives, (2) emphasis on the use of specialists, (3) functional organizational structure, (4) dispersed accountability, (5) goal-setting, and (6) employee involvement.

A common approach to teamwork problems is to focus on improving interpersonal relations. However, because problems with interpersonal relations are often a symptom, lasting benefits can only be achieved by identifying and eliminating the root causes of teamwork problems.

The authors propose several changes: (1) Pay physicians, hospitals, and insurers in the same manner; (2) Accelerate the shift from self-employed to hospital-employed physicians; (3) Reduce specialization by establishing broader/fewer job classifications, slimmer hierarchies, and decreased contracting for internal services; (4) Identify unifying goals to improve organizational structure; (5) Work only on goals that are meaningful and realistic; (6) Create a non-threatening environment that fosters continual improvement and a commitment to customer service.

In addition to improving health care teamwork, the suggested improvements would benefit quality, productivity, responsiveness, and employee satisfaction.


Quality management (QM),Health care

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