Radiologists’ 4 key ingredients to expedite innovation via collaborative interdepartmental teams

As radiology teams seek to implement innovative new ideas in a rapid fashion, collaboration with other departments is often essential. But there are a few key ingredients to make sure these partnerships excel, rather than succumb to squabbling, turf wars and mistrust.

That’s according to a new review article out of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, published Tuesday in Clinical Imaging. Diagnostic radiologist Vilert Loving, MD, stressed that when done correctly, multidisciplinary collaboration can result boost both outcomes and patient satisfaction while also reducing staff turnover and expenses.

“[Collaborative interdepartmental teams] offer diverse skill sets and expeditious innovation, and radiologists will inevitably participate in CITs during their career,” Loving wrote Oct. 6. “Along with their advantages, CITs also introduce interpersonal challenges and conflicting motivations that detract from project success. These challenges should not dissuade organizations from using CITs…”

Loving cited a previous study across many industries, which found that 75% of such collaborative teams are dysfunctional. In radiology, there are three likely causes for dispute: medical departments are often siloed and focused on their own interests; turf concerns are prevalent; and unfamiliarity between team members may lead to mistrust.

The author offered up four key factors to address these challenges:

1) Set goals when launching the team to help delineate expectations, define success, unify members and motivate them to strive for victory.

2) Establish culture to help dictate the attitudes and behavior of employees, and fuel better teamwork and performance. This includes fostering trust between departments and openly acknowledging participants’ success.

3) Select effective leaders, with task-oriented and relationship-building skills. Besides the first two recommendations, winning team captains can also model ideal behaviors, provide ample feedback and preemptively address turf battles, loving noted.

4) Find the right people to fill out the team, who are skilled at nurturing interpersonal relationships, emotionally intelligent, and have possibly worked together before to help skip over the initiation period.

Read more of Loving’s recommendations in Clinical Imaging here.