5 Principles for Highly Reliable Healthcare Organization

The healthcare industry is complex, operates and undertakes high-stakes work where mistakes can equal any great revenue loss. That is the reason why so many hospitals are embracing the values of high-reliability organizations. The paradigm works remarkably well in the promotion of patient safety and efficient healthcare delivery.

High reliability organizations are organizations with systems in place that make them exceptionally consistent in accomplishing their goals and avoiding potentially catastrophic errors.

The drive to become high reliable healthcare organization, the industry has come to realize this work will improve our performance in everything they does. It needs focusing on 5 principles:

  1. Highly Reliable Healthcare Organizations Are Sensitive To Operations

Based on the understanding of HRO’s operational complexity, resources in HROs make every effort to maintain a high cognizance of operational conditions. This sensitivity is often referred to as big picture understanding or situation awareness which means people tends to cultivate an understanding of the context of the present state of their work in coordination with the unit or organizational state for example- what is going on around them or how the current state might support or threaten safety.

  1. Reluctant To Accept Simple Explanations For The Problems

Highly reliable healthcare organizations do identify potential reasons for poor performances, but they never stop there; they continue to analysis further. They ask more questions. They keep digging until find the specific source of the problem is not found.

For instance; people admitted through ED were actually more satisfied than direct admissions. When patients were admitted through ED, they were more likely to be prepared for longer wait times or other operational issues. But patients admitted through a direct referral from their physicians expected a swift and seamless admission process, only to be disappointed when such did not occur.

What’s the lesson? To become high reliable healthcare organizations, hospitals need to dig into their metrics, compare information and question explanations that may seem reasonable or obvious, because the very opposite may be true.

  1. Highly Reliable Healthcare Organizations Are Preoccupation With Failure

Each employee at every level in a high reliable healthcare organization is encouraged to think of ways their work processes might break down. This sense of shared attentiveness is persistent. It is applicable to small inefficiencies and major failures, including medical errors. Employees are encouraged to share their concerns for potential failures, which can help create best practices across departments.

Medical errors that are detected and corrected before harming patients are called near-misses; highly reliable healthcare organizations treat these events differently from other hospitals. They encourage employees to come forward with near-misses and they focus on which processes and safeguards work best.

  1. Highly Reliable Healthcare Organization Defer To Expertise

Leaders at highly reliable healthcare organizations listen to people who have the most developed knowledge of the task at hand. At times, these individuals might not be senior most person or an experienced on, but they are still encouraged to voice their concerns, ideas and input regardless of hierarchy.

If leaders and supervisors don’t listen to staff about processes and operations within the hospital, it is practically impossible for the organization to develop a culture of high reliability.

  1. Highly Reliable Healthcare Organizations Are Resilient

This trait could also be called relentlessness. Leaders are prepared in how to respond to failures and continually find new solutions. They might improvise more, or quickly develop new ways to respond to unexpected events. Highly reliable healthcare organizations might experience numerous failures, but it is their resilience and swift problem solving that prevents catastrophes.