High functioning healthcare teams have a greater likelihood of making and sustaining changes that produce better quality service and outcomes for their patients.

In the 10 years AIM Alberta has been serving family and specialist physicians, they have found there are some basic elements of team functioning that are linked to enhancing access for their patients. These basic elements provide the foundation for change to occur in many areas that are important to both patients and providers. These include:

  • Sufficient opportunities exist to develop additional skills and knowledge
  • Meeting discussion outcomes are always clear with specific resolutions and action items
  • Members are open and honest when voicing their opinions

While each individual element is important, teams that had the most improvements applied all three of these elements in their practice.

“Ultimately, clinics appear to have the highest odds of improving access for their patients when they have an accessible learning environment, promote an open and honest sharing culture and run meetings efficiently complete with clear outcomes and action items,” said Richard Golonka, senior analyst with AHS Primary Healthcare team.

Donna Biddell, team effectiveness specialist and consultant with the AIM team, agrees with the conclusion that “teams that are able to adopt and utilize interventions and tools that focus specifically on enhancing these attributes may provide some benefit to clinics as they embark on a quality improvement journey.”

The AIM team continues to offer consultative supports to Primary Care Networks and their member practices to optimize team functioning in support of their goal to build a patient’s medical home. For more information on how AIM can co-design a team effectiveness solution with you, please contact info.aim@ahs.ca.

To view the Back to Basics: Healthcare Team Effectiveness and Access Improvement Among Primary Care Teams research in its entirety, please download the poster.