• Teamwork is the Best Way to Get Your Practice Ready for Post-COVID-19 Recovery

    The coronavirus pandemic provides a perfect opportunity to rethink your practice operations and how you develop them. A team approach is the best way to facilitate idea generation, engagement, and commitment. Each member of your eye care team brings a different perspective to the table. Staff becomes more fully engaged when they are tasked with analyzing their own work and solving problems.

    Both physician and staff satisfaction increase when their interactions are productive and positive and when there is less waste and confusion in the workplace. Best of all, the patient is the ultimate beneficiary of a positive, value-driven clinic environment. For these reasons, the team approach is a core principle of lean because it fosters a culture of continuous quality improvement in the practice.

    Here are some simple steps to get you started:

    • Assemble your eye care team to identify solutions during recovery.
    • Set up regular virtual meetings so that ongoing problem-solving becomes integral to your practice culture. If possible, provide food or snacks to foster a positive, collaborative environment for your working meetings.
    • Challenge your team to proactively identify problems and work together to implement new protocols or changes within the practice. Use the Lean A3 group problem solving tool.
    • Task team members to monitor any new safety concerns or patient-related issues and share them with the team and their supervisors.
    • Present the practice goals for implementing a new protocol, such as telemedicine. Ask for feedback and how this new process will impact each department.
    • Lean thrives in an environment of quick experimentation in which front-line staff are empowered to suggest and trial solutions. There should be no negative consequences when proposed solutions do not pan out.
    • Begin the process with a smaller or less complex challenge. Early wins build confidence and teamwork.
    • Share data and results, and most of all, celebrate successes.

    To explore more on Lean Management during COVID-19 review Module 5.1 Envision Strategies and Implement Lean Management. For more strategies on employee relations, consult Module 4.1 Stay Connected and Communicate with Your Staff. Both modules are included in the AAOE Reboot Your Practice: Post-COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap for the Ophthalmic Practice.