Monday, September 23, 2013

Unreliable Hospitals

The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, say that too many hospitals and health care leaders experience serious safety failures every day.
Because of these failures, millions of Americans are affected each year. According to the article, major changes need to take place in both leadership and safety culture. If changes can successfully be made, hospitals can make progress towards becoming highly reliable.
There are three major things that hospitals can do. According to the Joint Commission:
·         Hospital leadership must commit to the ultimate goal of high reliability or zero patient harm rather than viewing it as unrealistic.
·         Hospitals must create a culture of safety that emphasizes trust, reporting and improvement. This means hospitals must put a stop to the intimidation and blame that drive safety concerns underground and instead emphasize accountability and the early identification of unsafe practices and conditions.
·         Hospitals need new process improvement tools and methods—a combination of Six Sigma, Lean, and change management in order to make far greater progress toward eliminating patient harm. Government regulation is unlikely to drive high reliability, but identifying and eliminating mandates that either do not directly contribute to or distract from quality challenges is necessary. Well-crafted programs that require public reporting of reliable and valid quality measures are also recommended.
Currently, no hospital has been able to achieve high reliability, but changes can be made to improve safety.

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