Category Archives for Healthcare Innovation

ActionCue CI Solution for Risk/Quality Managers

Quality Improvement Performance Indicators: Prioritizing Your Data

In a recent blog post, the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality shed some light on an area of concern for many hospitals: the prioritization of data collection within their QAPI program. Hospitals are constantly working to monitor, report on and improve patient safety and quality of care, many of them collecting data on hundreds of performance indicators, but it’s impossible to monitor every single area.

This is where prioritization of data collection comes into play. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects hospitals to prioritize high-risk, high-volume or problem-prone areas, but unfortunately, the agency is not specific on what areas qualify as such. However, the CIHQ suggests prioritizing performance indicators that are frequently cited for not being incorporated into a hospital’s QAPI program, such as:

Medication Use

  • Sterile Compounding and IV Admixture
  • Management of Hazardous Medications
  • Medication Administration Practices for High-Risk Meds

Infection Prevention & Control

  • Sterilization of Instruments & Supplies
  • High-Level Disinfection of Instruments & Supplies
  • MDRO and Isolation Practice
  • Disinfection and Cleaning of Dialysis Machines & Equipment

Physical Environment

  • Environmental Controls of Sensitive Areas (Temperature, Humidity, Air Balance)
  • Maintenance and Operation of Critical Medical and Utilities Equipment
  • Life Safety System Testing and Maintenance
  • Implementation of Interim Life Safety Measures
  • Protection Against Radiation Hazards

Food & Nutritional Services

  • Food Service Preparation, Storage, and Cleanliness

Clinical Services

  • Ordering Restraint & Seclusion
  • Monitoring of Patients in Restraint & Seclusion
  • Administration of Blood & Blood Products
  • Protection of Patients at Risk of Self-Harm
  • Administration of Sedation / Anesthesia
  • Surgical and Invasive Procedures

While we support CMS and CIHQ in urging focus on certain performance indicators when a limited number can be tracked and addressed, hospitals should be very careful about reducing the number of tracked indicators due to time and resource constraints, because that could potentially have a damaging effect on the organization. The motivation to do so is often present and understandable, when hospitals are utilizing inefficient and labor-intensive performance tracking processes and tools. This is precisely the fundamental issue that Prista’s ActionCue CI application was designed to address.

ActionCue CI is your Fast Path to Insight™, monitoring all 19 performance indicators listed above and more, right out of the box. Its intuitive online dashboards provide critical QI/PI information to those who need it, when they need it. With gains in efficiency and productivity from using ActionCue CI, staff can carry out the quality, safety and improvement activities of the hospital, and cover and drive improvement on a larger number of measures, reducing the chances of being blindsided by a clinical performance issue or a derogatory survey finding.

In addition to comprehensive and efficient data collection, ActionCue helps hospitals take real actions to improve patient care, allowing staff to quickly investigate event causes and manage corrective actions through electronic event reporting. Many hospitals see significant increases in staff participation, communication and cooperation.

While it’s certainly important to take all necessary steps to avoid a CMS citation, ActionCue helps hospitals take quality and performance improvement a step further by truly creating a “Culture of Quality,” representing a collective and sustained commitment by organizational leaders to emphasize safety every single day.

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ActionCue CI Solution for Risk/Quality Managers

Is Your Quality-Safety System Really a Do-it-Yourself Project? Should it be?

We frequently describe ActionCue Clinical Intelligence as redefining and facilitating the management process for quality-safety improvement. Understanding that taking on quality-safety improvement can bring some apprehension, we want to make clear that we do this to bring a radical increase in efficiency to the process of improving patient care delivery for clinical staff, managers and executives.

Whether a facility or system’s solutions for quality and safety management, tracking, and reporting consists of paper and Excel spreadsheets, internally developed systems, or commercial applications, most of those scenarios have something in common: They require clinical management to spend a good bit of time on manual work. This can include:

  • Researching required performance measure definitions and their application within the facility
  • Setting the structure of criteria, measures, reports, graphs and notifications within the system
  • Entering, manipulating and checking data multiple times as it moves from safety tools and organizations to the quality management arena, and on to the places, tools, and people involved in performance improvement and management information systems
  • Creating and executing the mechanisms for communication and collaborating with various staff to carry out multiple fractured workflow processes
  • Producing forms, diagrams and other artifacts, the primary purpose of which is to demonstrate adherence to the chosen process and methodology
  • Using additional tools, systems or steps to produce static reports in a variety of formats for management review meetings
  • Revising and re-doing much of the above repeatedly in response to changing external reporting requirements, additional or revised inquiries, recurring meetings, staff turnover, etc.

It should be noted that in many cases, a good bit of that manual work could be done by administrative workers but is too interwoven in the clinical and quality-safety work to hand it off without major disruption in productivity. In other cases, it requires the clinical professionals to develop skills in information technology and data manipulation that should arguably not be required of them. Both of these instances seriously dilute the application of their best skills, education and professional abilities to improving quality-safety.

Unfortunately, many clinical managers and their senior management accept this kind of manual effort, and the resources it consumes, as the norm for working in quality, safety and improvement. Some believe it is the only way for solutions to work exactly as they want. Even by turning to multiple commercial software vendors, much of this same function building is required as the vendor happily customizes their product and charges significantly for it both upfront and on a continuous basis, while tying up hospital staff in planning and reviewing the customization. After-sale charges can even become the vendor’s primary business model. At Epic Systems’ User Group Meeting in September of 2016, CEO Judy Faulkner said she identifies Epic as a programming shop. The company spends just over 50 percent of operating expenses on research and development each year. With that perspective, how likely is it that such a vendor is going to make the application itself match the needs of its users, or reduce the work of installation, amount of training needed, or degree to which the vendor’s billable time is needed for ongoing administration and updates?

Costs that may be dispersed into the operating budget are often “hidden,” but really add up when considering the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the solution. Almost all of this fits into the “administrative overhead” component of healthcare costs, which is understood by most in the C-suite of hospitals today to be increasing disproportionately.

Once this “build our own” mentality sets in, inertia takes hold. It is common for quality and safety solution acquisitions to focus on one of these “toolkits,” or basic products needing customization that lasts months after purchase. Over time, the organization feels as if it has invested so much into their status quo solution that they certainly don’t want to make a substantial change and start the process all over again. This is especially true when it could impact the many overt work processes in which they have also invested time, money and training.

Many managers initiating searches for quality and safety management solutions may not realize that a well-designed “turnkey” application—embodying not only effective technology but also expertly-crafted healthcare operational design—can be configured in days, not months, to fit their organizations and operations, and similarly be reconfigured to match their evolving needs. While turnkey applications such as ActionCue may be uncommon in healthcare IT, distancing the organization from the practice of costly extensive internal or vendor-teamed software development is something companies in almost all other verticals have done over the years. Although this requires some adjustment in perspective when reviewing products designed for a large healthcare marketplace, the very common mentality of “doing what you’ve always done” is something healthcare providers can simply no longer afford.

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ActionCue CI Solution for Executives

Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action—Part 4

In a recent webinar for our ActionCue clients, Prista’s panel of experts answered questions about healthcare innovation and the role of leadership in creating action that improves patient safety and quality.

We covered nine of these questions in previous posts—Part 1Part 2 and Part 3. In this one, we will discuss the final three questions. Before we begin, let’s review who the panelists in this webinar were.

As President and Founder of Prista, Don Jarrell brings more than 30 years of technology experience in products management, application design, technology strategy and intellectual property management licensing. Don has provided the vision for Prista and for the ActionCue application.

Billie Anne Schoppman is a Registered Nurse and CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the Chief Mission Officer at Prista, she brings her passion to create the most efficient environment for improvement.

Dr. Jake Redden is a member of Prista’s Advisory Board with expertise in patient safety, healthcare quality, human factors, crew resource management, and safety culture, and is certified in healthcare quality and patient safety.

 

 

10. What is the biggest or most strategic impact when using the kinds of innovations we’re talking about that directly benefit user organizations?

 

Don Jarrell: We talk a lot about innovation in terms of daily impact because we’re trying to adjust behavioral interactions regarding the quality and safety efforts, but we’re actually improving the entire management process too.

When we can use technology to shape the workflow and keep it moving so that incident investigations don’t stall, data doesn’t get unreported and various reports don’t drive right into the performance improvement segment, we’re changing the process by which hospitals are managed.

It’s not about giving a motivational speech and turning up the heat on people to get results. It’s about actually changing the process and facilitating what management is expecting by their presence and their actual involvement in the workflows to some degree, not in a way that’s going to overburden them or keep them connected at arm’s length, but in a way that uses all of the leadership principles Dr. Redden talked about.

These things will change the way the organization is actually carrying out its management process, and that’s what we’re really after. We’re not asking anybody to act heroically based on being super revved up in their motivations. We’re simply enabling them to work a little harder and contribute a little more. That will naturally turn into a sense of satisfaction that really helps sustainability.

Dr. Jake Redden: What I always look for from a strategic impact is the production of improvement. We’ve got to measure the amount of work done towards making improvements, whether it’s the number of policies updated, daily process audits, kaizens, rapid process improvement events, standard working element or SOPs.

We’ve got to get our front line employees to first speak up for safety and then be involved in the production of improvements. That is where the real strategic impact is going to come from. We drive innovation with improvement productions in order to make our units in hospitals more efficient, safer and patient focused.

 

11. What can managers who want to address system issues do when they don’t feel executives are listening? 

 

Don Jarrell: If the CEO is not responding to input that they’re getting from managers, senior managers should be able to ask “Why don’t you think this is important?” Or phrased more positively, “What could we do to convince you that this is important? What change to the mechanics or the presentation of information or the flow of information could make you feel more engaged and like this was a higher priority?”

I don’t think there’s any way you can force somebody, but you can certainly dialogue with them to start off, just asking them the very simple why or why not questions, in a non-accusatory way, so that you can actually find out what the barrier is and how it can be addressed.

Dr. Jake Redden: The joke I use with my provider partners is the same joke I use for my executive team—you’ve got to tell them something three times before they’ve heard it once, and you’ve got to tell them three more times so they will think it was their idea.

What I always recommend people do is to make things visual for executive teams. They have a limited amount of time, so you’ve got to get in there and make the bad side of the information as visible as possible. Put it up there three different ways and continue to put it up there every single month in a unique, innovative way. Eventually they’re going to say, “You know what? We should do something about that.”

Again, you’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to stick to it. If they don’t buy it the first time, you’ve got to subtly continue to sell that through frequency. You’ve got to make it visual until they finally admit there’s an issue, and then they’ll get involved with helping make that improvement.

 

12. Where can I get answers to my questions about performance improvement or healthcare quality?

 

Dr. Jake Redden: There are a ton of resources out there. Both Billie and I are big fans of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ). If you look up what it takes to become certified in healthcare quality, they have an excellent reading list that they keep up-to-date. For patient safety, there’s the National Patient Safety Foundation, in association with the IHI.

It’s really tough being a quality leader in healthcare because there’s no quality school you can go to. I’ve seen hospitals that have just brought in lead engineers or improvement leaders from manufacturing and automotive. They don’t quite adapt to the culture, and they don’t develop the interpersonal relationships or adjust to the uniqueness of provider partners and our nurse leaders.

Of course, you can’t just bring in a nurse or a floor tech and expect them to have that kind of systems thinking ability or the 10,000 foot view of how we drive improvement for the long term through culture changes, either. You’ve got to find individuals who think differently and continually reinvest in those folks through seminars and classes

Billie Anne Schoppman: Drexel University has an online MSN degree in safety and risk management in healthcare, which is a great opportunity for learning. I think they’re going in the right direction and it’s good to see. You can also check out CPHQ and the CPHRM. They’re kind of separated, and I’d love to see them combined. It’s all about integrating it all together.

 

We are delighted that you have joined us for this series as we reviewed 12 important questions about Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action. Reach out to us via email or on social media if you have questions, comments or input on additional questions you think should be addressed.

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Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action—Part 3

In a recent webinar for our ActionCue clients, Prista’s panel of experts answered questions about healthcare innovation and the role of leadership in creating action that improves patient safety and quality.

We covered six of these questions in previous posts—Part 1 and Part 2—and in this one, we will discuss three more questions. Before we begin, let’s review who the panelists in this webinar were.

As President and Founder of Prista, Don Jarrell brings more than 30 years of technology experience in products management, application design, technology strategy and intellectual property management licensing. Don has provided the vision for Prista and for the ActionCue application.

Billie Anne Schoppman is a Registered Nurse and CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the Chief Mission Officer at Prista, she brings her passion to create the most efficient environment for improvement.

Dr. Jake Redden is a member of Prista’s Advisory Board with expertise in patient safety, healthcare quality, human factors, crew resource management, and safety culture, and is certified in healthcare quality and patient safety.

 

7. Why would innovation in the quality and safety improvement process help with other pressures and demands on healthcare executives, like finance, regulatory and operations issues?

 

Don Jarrell: I wouldn’t want to be a healthcare CEO these days. The pressure is enormous and it’s coming from every sort of angle, internally and externally. We respect that and want to address the areas of greatest concern for hospital executives, particularly CEOs.

Quality doesn’t occupy the same space as when it was simply delegated to a mid-level team member and not given much attention. Thanks to the pay-for-performance landscape—with macro NIPS, ACOs and everything else—you’re either going to get penalized for bad quality or safety issues, or you’re going to miss out on incremental income if your quality and safety, and performance track records don’t reflect the right things.

There’s a direct link between quality, safety and your financial considerations, as well as your regulatory issues, because when licensure is on the line, you want to live up to all of those standards. However, many C-level executives spend most of their time trying to actually run the operation and struggle to find time to address other crucial issues.

By taking good care of the quality, safety and improvement process, we are essentially taking some of the pain away from the C-levels so they can spend more of their time looking at those other areas. The quality and safety efficiencies we focus on also have a favorable impact on all of these other areas.

By getting an efficient, comprehensive look at their quality and safety situation, C-levels and the individuals who report directly to them can immediately link that to what their organization is doing. That makes the entire executive review process, given the sort of CEO’s mindset or perspective, much more efficient.

 

8. How can a software application really impact leadership and why is that effect more sustained than when it’s gained from leadership classes?

 

Dr. Jake Redden: Nothing replaces the foundational understanding of patients’ safety within the total leadership curriculum. That is the reason almost all hospital CEO jobs require an MHA or graduate degree. Most leadership courses are not going to take you much further than answering the “why” question or trying to help build a platform which leadership can act upon.

Leadership classes and seminars will not tell you what has to be done every day in your hospital. Building a culture of quality and leaning towards a higher liability organization of care delivery takes everyone working together, with real time insight and meaningful feedback on how their efforts are contributing to the improvement of patient care throughout the entire hospital.

One of the suggestions from the National Patient Safety Foundation last month was to insure that technology is safe and optimized for patient safety. This certainly applies to medical monitoring, decision support software and electronic medical records, but it also applies to the tools that senior leaders are using to monitor and improve the safety landscape for hospitals.

By now, almost all executives realize unintended consequences related to implementing any new technology happen almost every time. Implementing a new technology inadvertently changes the way people work and reduces new and unanticipated problems that we’ve got to deal with.

Our executives are quick to acknowledge this realization and deal with adjustments out on the floor with our patient flows. However, we are bad with making those adjustments to our own personal work processes that can result in maximizing the benefits of any new technology and what it’s supposed to provide us as a decision maker.

As executives, we have to dedicate time every week to review reports and patient safety indicators that are unique to our organizations. We have to let our frontline experts make the improvement, but we also have to be there to provide support.

More importantly, leadership needs to provide the accountability to insure that improvement efforts and innovation are occurring at every single opportunity, big or small. Every unsafe condition, outdated care process, or safety report that gets completed should have a senior leader devoting protected time to the right oversight of patient safety, and driving innovative change and solid improvements.

Don Jarrell: From an outside analyst view, people use the term culture of quality a lot, but in a presentation I did for ASHRM, I talked about what it really means to have an operative culture of quality. It’s not the slogans, the posters on the wall or the methodology that’s named. It’s really how people feel about the culture of quality.

To put it another way, it’s that voice we hope is inside everyone’s head on the clinical staff repeating over and over, “This is how we do our work.” If you really want to hook into that in a way that is sustained, it can’t be just a speech the CEO gives. The continuity of leadership and leader participation is important, but to really get it to continually present for the users and clinical staff, you need to make it a part of their daily work.

That’s why we focus on actually giving organizations a workbench and a working platform for their collaboration, reporting and investigation, so we can change their behaviors directly as they work toward the goal of quality and safety.

Actually addressing the work rather than the mind has been a strong teaching method of behavioral psychologists for a long time. They typically contend that you don’t change attitude to change thinking and actions, you change actions to change thinking and attitude. We come in with a very behaviorist approach to changing the working environment by changing the working platform.

 

9. What best supports the expectation that these innovations will make a positive impact on our organization’s quality and safety efforts?

 

Billie Anne Schoppman: It’s tough to find one thing, but mine is action. We need to take action now to make a positive impact on our organizations. There’s always change in healthcare. Now is the time. Innovation is the new strategy.

Everywhere you look, whether it’s online or with evidence-based data, the movement is toward innovation. Why? Because we are doing operations well. You want to be efficient? That’s great. You want to be predictable? That’s good. But we want growth. We want to meet the demands of the future. We want to prove our value to the community and to our customers. That’s innovation.

We have processes that have been in place for years. Let’s allow people in the organization to be creative, because if they are, they will take risks, which will lead to actions that drive change. That’s the one thing that can have the most positive impact on organizations right now. Take a risk, be an entrepreneur and take action.

Dr. Jake Redden: I always help organizations fix things more effectively the first time. When the frontline staff sees a level of consistent engagement from the executive team, it increases support from other frontline employees. We see the enthusiasm and overall improved safety culture grow.

Consistency is where we fail. We start out with a lot of enthusiasm in the C-suite, but by the third month, we’ve stopped having our regular, protected time check-in meetings, and we’re bypassing stuff. It ends up looking like a lot of lip service to those frontlines, so executives have to be available and present, and expect improvement.

Accountability is where their money comes from on those frontlines. They’ve got to not only trust, but verify as well. They’ve got to go out and make sure that we actually fixed the things that were reported last month in order to do that consistently, every single day, and every single opportunity, big or small.

 

We hope you will read our final installation in the series about Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action, coming soon. Reach out to us via email or on social media if you have questions or comments, and let us know what challenges you’re facing and how ActionCue CI can make a difference for your patients.

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Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action—Part 2

In a recent webinar for our ActionCue clients, Prista’s panel of experts answered questions about healthcare innovation and the role of leadership in creating action that improves patient safety and quality.

A total of 12 questions were addressed in depth by our panelists. In this article, we will discuss the second three questions and cover the remaining six in future posts. Check out the first three questions here if you missed them. Before we begin, let’s do a quick introduction to the panelists in this webinar.

As President and Founder of Prista, Don Jarrell brings more than 30 years of technology experience in products management, application design, technology strategy and intellectual property management licensing. Don has provided the vision for Prista and for the ActionCue application.

Billie Anne Schoppman is a Registered Nurse and CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the Chief Mission Officer at Prista, she brings her passion to create the most efficient environment for improvement.

Dr. Jake Redden is a member of Prista’s Advisory Board with expertise in patient safety, healthcare quality, human factors, crew resource management, and safety culture, and is certified in healthcare quality and patient safety.

 

4. How much value is there in the UI/UX and design of a new application if the staff has already learned how to use another quality and safety system?

 

Don Jarrell: The design of the user interface and user experience is really important when people are first trying to learn how to use the application, but in my experience, it’s even more important once the people are routinely using an application in production.

Rather than just the aesthetic or the intuitiveness of the application itself, UX is about users getting things done relative to their whole job. The user’s objectives can really be supported when the application is designed from a standpoint of understanding the mindset and the needs of the user as they are starting to engage the application for a task, when they’re actually doing the tasks, and what they are likely to want or do next. Of course, it helps when the integration extends not just to the activities within the application, but to the real 24 or eight hour-a-day job of the various users.

By improving the productivity and making the process enjoyable, people have a subliminal relationship with the application making them positively disposed toward the work that they’re doing in the application.

With all of that going on, you really do want the people to enjoy using the application. You don’t want it to be frustrating, unpleasant or a drag on their productivity.

When we’re talking about reporting, we can also get into some very interesting benefits from understanding the perceptive science or neuroscience of a user and injecting that into the application. When you present data in a way that conflicts with the natural functioning of the brain and perception of the user, it can be bad.

We’ve all been to quality council meetings or governing board meetings where people jump around with all sorts of differently formatted spreadsheets and graphs and illustrations of various kinds, many of which are badly designed in terms of neuroscience. Often people leave those three and four hour meetings with a headache, not just because of the subject matter that they’re dealing with, but because of how it was presented.

We spend a lot of time trying to make sure that we bring in the neuroscience, the perceptive science, the technology design work and so forth. This approach is equally fed with an understanding of the workflow and environment in healthcare and the settings in which our applications are used, but we bring all of that together for a satisfying and productive user interface and experience.

We also carry that one step forward into what we call enterprise experience (EX), which is important when you’re talking about workflows and collaboration among many people. So, while we’re satisfying the individual users in terms of their engagement with the application to perform their tasks, we’re also satisfying the corporate objectives to get the overall work involving many people done effectively, efficiently and enjoyably.

 

5. How does executive management support or lead to a culture of quality?

 

Dr. Jake Redden: Culture truly is the heart of where we’re going to make a lot of our improvements in hospitals, and it has to be led by our executive teams. There have been countless studies documenting how tough this is because of the considerable variations in the perception of safety culture across organizations, and even within a single hospital across different staff roles.

Safety culture has been defined and it can be measured. A lot of us do annual or semi-annual measurements of where our culture is. A poorly perceived safety culture has been directly linked to increased error rates. However, achieving sustained improvements in safety culture has been difficult.

Culture improvement efforts such as the ones Billie Anne mentioned, like executive walkthroughs and unit based safety teams, have all been associated with improvements in safety culture measures, but they have not yet been shown to lower error rates.

Other methods, including SBAR, structured communication methods, and different rapid response teams, have all been implemented to help address cultural issues in a hospital such as rigid hierarchies and communication problems. Again, the effects of these methods in improving overall safety culture and error rates remain unproven.

All experts agree, however, that culture and leadership is where we have to start. There is no blanket approach to improving patient safety. You can’t just bring someone in and expect them to make everything better. It has to start within our own walls and how we’re addressing these issues. We have to be innovative with the information we have in our hospitals.

I’m not going to belabor the value of building a reporting culture. I think most risk managers today are aware that a patient safety reporting program is a must in every healthcare organization. Of course, having employees who want to report involves the presence of a just culture, which is another common discussion point for executives today.

Let’s take a look at two lesser known aspects of safety culture: the informed and learning cultures. I’m a huge fan of these two aspects because they speak directly to the two tenets of high reliability organizations: the reluctance to accept simple explanations for problems and sensitivity to operations.

In an informed culture, every member of the leadership team is aware of not just the most serious safety events or those associated with our publicly reported metrics, but everything that our frontline staff, who are the experts that we should be deferring to, is saying needs to be addressed. Once leadership is aware or informed in an actionable way, then we can address redesigning the work environment.

The reluctance to accept simple explanations for problems helps develop our learning culture. Once we stop letting others give easy answers for negative events or people that are trying to protect their turf or cover up what happens on their units, we can really start to develop higher reliability work processes. We fix things more effectively the first time, and when frontline sees how informative the executive team is, it grows support, enthusiasm, and an overall improved safety culture.

As mentioned, safety culture is a local problem. Wide variations in the perception of that safety culture existing within a single organization further complicate how we approach the work that we do in improvement. These variations regularly contribute to the mixed record of interventions or attempts at making improvement. That’s why we see cycles of things we fixed in the past creeping back in as we continue to try to play the management theme of the month.

Organizational leadership needs to be deeply involved and attentive to the issues that our frontline workers are facing. They must have an understanding of the established norms and hidden culture that often guide our unsafe behaviors.

 

6. Why should leaders who have been very successful in quality and safety organizations want to change their strategy, process and tools?

 

Billie Anne Schoppman: Healthcare leaders have been leaders in quality, risk and safety over several years and done an excellent job. We’ve operationally met our regulatory requirements, our financial requirements and worked really hard to actually meet our responsibilities, but as with anything else, things have to change. As Dr. Redden mentioned, we still have a lot of opportunities. There are a lot of things that keep coming around again and again because we really don’t fix them.

To become a high reliability organization, we need to stress some requirements. This is something that many organizations are already addressing, but it’s an ongoing process. It’s not something that you can implement and then walk away from it. It will not be hardwired unless you take the time to hardwire it. The safety culture is the sum of what an organization is and does every day in the pursuit of safety, and it involves everyone in the organization.

Let’s look at a couple of building blocks and things that we all need to think about. Instead of maintaining the status quo, focus on organizational activities that need to become daily a routine and can help you achieve those safe operations. Everything is important. Every way that you can get the visitors, patients and the staff involved in identifying safety opportunities is a change in the culture.

We talked about a blame-free environment, but does it really exist? Are people still focused on who instead of what? Instead of the process? I always liked Demings’ comment that 85% of the causes of customer dissatisfaction are the result of inefficiencies in systems and processes.

What we want to focus on to be a highly reliable organization is processes. Let technology take the place of a lot of the inefficient processes that you have. Let it work for you instead of you having to work for it all the time.

Let’s also talk about collaboration across the processes. Everything in healthcare is still siloed. Day shift, night shift, respiratory versus nursing, laboratory versus nursing, radiology versus nursing, etc. Much of that has been repaired, but there’s still the mentality of siloing operations, departments and processes.

We need to collaborate across those barriers. Nothing in healthcare is siloed, so every department needs to be involved in everything that’s happening. Think of the same thing as far as your systems. How many systems do you have that don’t talk to each other? How many systems do you have that may do one function instead of all three integrated functions, or instead of giving you information that you need at your fingertips so you can act?

Organizations also have to be committed to resources. Does your organization provide the system that you really need to identify safety concerns, track and trend them, and improve them?

Dr. Redden mentioned some of the tenets of a safety culture. I’m sure all of you are aware of the Sentinel Event Alert 57 that highlights the role of leadership in developing a safety culture. This is a great start. It’s a start for you to sit down, ask the questions and do a self-analysis. Take one thing at a time to start approaching your safety culture.

 

We hope you will keep reading over the next several weeks as we continue our series about Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action. Reach out to us via email or on social media if you have questions or comments, and let us know what challenges you’re facing and how ActionCue CI can make a difference for your patients.

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