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Why Afternoon Tea is Crucial to Medical Collaboration Teams

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 08:32 AM

afternoon tea, medical collaboration is aided by social interaction

Last week we shared 5 things that make a medical collaboration team great. And today we look at the the 6th thing:

Afternoon tea.

As our last post discussed, social interaction is critical to collaboration. A study from MIT showed that when social interaction happens, productivity increases. A call center made the simple change of scheduling all their coffee breaks at the same time, and call response time - an easy to measure statistic - decreased markedly. Which leads us to Anna of Bedford, whose birthday just passed on September 3rd. As the industrialized society grew, and dinner was served late, people began to have a light snack at 4 or 5 pm. Anna took it one step farther: she served tea. These tea times were gathering places for gossip and moments to discuss the affairs of the day. Anna's friend, Queen Victoria, followed suit. The practice became fashionable, spreading, and becoming what we now know as the British Afternoon Tea.

We do not know if call response times decreased then, but we do know that it was the time of the peak of the British Empire.

In medicine, we used to do a lot of versions of afternoon tea, to keep relationships strong and the lines of communication open. In fact, modern residents won’t believe this, but we used to have “GI rounds” of beer, wine, and cheese in the pathology lab conference room. The surgeons actually talked to the pathologists too!

The truth is that these times for afternoon tea in the medical profession are dwindling. But the need for social interaction and conversation hasn't decreased. It's crucial when we do any collaborative venture whether it is in person, by phone, with paper, or ideally with Hybrid Store and Forward telemedicine.

So as you collaborate, remember that we are collaborating with another professional with skills and knowledge different from ours. That person can be anyone with any title, HIPAA compliant of course. And in that collaboration, I've found it useful to keep the following in mind:

  • Talk and listen. “Yes sir, no sir” doesn’t hack it any more than “My way or the highway”
  • Engage in energetic conversation. Healthcare can be depressing. We don’t have to add to the depression. Bad outcomes taken seriously, but bad administrative and regulatory environments, not.
  • Connect with all of us, not the boss. Hybrid Store and Forward allows connections and conversations to take place both anywhere and any time.
  • Carry on inside and outside of the meeting. Continue the conversation, as in “I just had another thought”.
  • Be individuals and explore, but return and share. It’s the patient who should win roundsmandship, not the last man standing.
  • Take time to make one more entry. “Thanks”; “We came to a good plan”; or “Keep in touch”.

And most of all remember to take time for tea.


Want more stories from the front lines of collaboration?


ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: medical collaboration, coordinated care, care coordination, store and forward medical collaboration

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