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Develop Your ‘A Team’ to Improve Employee Engagement and Enhance the Patient Experience

Posted on Mon, Nov 16, 2015
Develop Your ‘A Team’ to Improve Employee Engagement and Enhance the Patient Experience

By Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP

Providing clinical care at the bedside is a difficult job that seems to get more so every day. Nowhere is that truer than the physician’s interaction with the patient in the emergency department and on to inpatient services.  The fiscal demands for improved patient satisfaction scores only add to the pressure. But how can we motivate physicians for service excellence?

Developing an “A Team” culture is essential—so your staff understands the traits of excellence exemplified by the A Team, as well as the demoralizing effects of B Team behavior.

The intention of customer service is almost universal, but the execution of customer service is often lacking. Unfortunately, patient satisfaction initiatives typically mean more work for clinicians that may even interfere with the care of their patient. In my opinion, if it doesn’t make the job easier, it isn’t really customer service.

Excellent customer service only takes place in an excellent work environment. If people don’t love their work, any customer service push will be in vain. A great work environment is created by great people. Therefore, the only way to achieve excellent customer service is to recognize and reward “A Team” clinicians and get rid of clinicians who are unwilling to change behaviors that have an adverse effect on the team and on the patient.

“A Team” clinicians are intrinsically motivated to care for their patients and do a good job. They are usually described as:
 

  • Communicator
  • Compassionate
  • Competent
  • Confident
  • Does whatever it takes
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Positive
  • Proactive
  • Teacher
  • Team Player
  • Trustworthy

“B Team” clinicians have a poisonous effect on their work environments. Their behaviors are predictable and subject to statistical analysis. Characteristics that typify them include:
 
  • “Can’t do” attitude
  • Confused
  • Constant complainer
  • Late
  • Lazy
  • Negative
  • Poor communicator
  • Reactive

Service excellence is good for the patient, the family, safety, risk reduction, market share and, yes, customer service scores.  But the No. 1 reason to get service excellence right in emergency and hospital medicine is that it makes your job easier!

EmCare works with physicians and nurses to create an “A Team” mentality so hospital clients can achieve their goals of improving communication, reducing left-against-medical-advice rates and improving patient satisfaction.

For more information about how EmCare can improve satisfaction and performance, visit the Resources section of our website.



Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP, is an Executive Vice President with EmCare. He also is the Founder and CEO of Best Practices and serves as a Medical Director for both Studer Group and the NFL Players’ Association. Mayer has published dozens of articles and book chapters and edited 15 textbooks including the definitive text “Strauss and Mayer’s Emergency Department Management.” He has been recognized as Speaker of the Year by the American College of Emergency Physicians. On September 11, 2001, he served as one of the command physicians of the Pentagon Rescue Operation. Emergency departments under his guidance have won awards from Press Ganey, PRC, Gallup, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others. Mayer’s academic appointments include Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the George Washington and Senior Lecturing Fellow at the Duke University School of Medicine.

 

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