How to Structure High-Functioning Radiology Teams

Members must have defined roles and responsibilities

When teams have clear functions and responsibilities, they know what is expected of them and work more efficiently. Knowing their roles will also help them feel encouraged and motivated toward completing their various tasks.

Additional Resources:

Break down authority gradients

The term “authority gradient” was first defined in aviation when it was noted that pilots and copilots may not communicate effectively in stressful situations if there is a significant difference in their experience, perceived expertise, or authority. A number of unintentional aviation, aerospace, and industrial incidents have been attributed, in part, to authority gradients.

The concept of authority gradient was introduced to medicine in the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human, yet little has been written or acknowledged in the medical literature regarding its role in medical error. The practice of medicine and medical training programs are highly organized, hierarchical structures that depend on supervision by authority figures. The concept that authority gradients might contribute to medical error is largely unrecognized.

Additional Resources:

Establish active, intentional inclusion and fairness practices

A high functioning team must be as diverse as is possible and actively foster inclusive practices.

Inclusion is the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

Fairness in the workplace drives participation, wellness, retention, safety and outcomes.

Additional Resources:

Create pipelines to foster diversity

Pipelining describes specific longitudinal efforts aimed at at producing diverse workforces. In healthcare, such efforts may be aimed at high school or college students, medical students and even residents to interest them in joining our field.

Jonathan Kruskal

Melvin E. Clouse Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Chair, Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center