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Teamwork key in well-run practice


In the operating room, every member of the team brings a particular knowledge and skill needed to ensure that surgery is performed well and the patient is safe.

Nevertheless, the practice manager’s work often is viewed in a silo separate from clinicians. In an increasingly complex healthcare system, however, a practice manager is a key figure in various aspects affecting patient care.So, too, a well-run medical practice requires a finely honed team to operate efficiently and profitably. A research study published in Family Practice Management some years ago noted that a key contributor to a practice’s success is the presence of functional work relationships. Members in a medical office must work as a collective unit with a common goal to provide the best care and service to the patient. The office manager is like a conductor who ensures every member of the orchestra is on the same page and in tune.

The practice manager:

What’s more, the practice manager oversees finances, human resources and risk management, and ensures that the practice meets myriad federal and state regulations. The person who fills this position can be instrumental in growing a practice.


Successful teams share certain characteristics. They communicate well, respect each other’s expertise, encourage diverse opinions, and understand how their tasks and responsibilities fit into the whole.

Additionally, in reviewing existing evidence of effective healthcare teams, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation found that “members of effective teams have faith in their ability to solve problems, are positive about their activities and trust each other. They can determine areas for improvement and reallocate resources to do so.”

Putting teamwork into practice

Physicians and the practice manager must work together to foster an atmosphere of cooperation. Recommendations found in research literature include:

By developing the characteristics of good teamwork between physicians and the practice manager, a medical practice can improve its use of timely information, as well as the skills and resources available to it, while improving patient care and service.

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