Relia Healthcare Advisors
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Things to consider as you grow your skills and further your career.

Professional Assessment Tests Impact HROs

Healthcare systems have increasingly turned to the High Reliability Organization (HRO) model to address the continued occurrence of patient harm and risks to patient safety. Leaders play a crucial role in creating a successful HRO culture, maintaining set standards and employing highly engaged, intrinsically motivated caregivers in order to improve the success rate of the HRO. One way to improve the quality of an HRO is to hire the right leaders. Professional assessment tests play an imperative role in finding the right leader for the right role.

There are several important traits needed in a leader, but the list following contains those thought to improve the quality of an HRO according to Cynthia Oster and Jane Braaten’s description in their book, High Reliability Organizations, A Healthcare Handbook for Patient Safety & Quality.

Encourage a Preoccupation with Failure

“Healthcare workers must create safe, protective habits and practice patterns that instill proper defenses to avert errors. Policies and procedures must be scrutinized for conditions that could lead to error-producing conditions. Research focusing on effective error management, including close calls, can be valuable to patient safety.” (Oster, C & Braaten, J. High Reliability Organizations, A Healthcare Handbook for Patient Safety & Quality. 2016)

Assessments can target leaders with:

  • Courage to report close calls as they are great predictors for the next potential medical error.

  • Be able to recover from an error and encourage others to recover from theirs

  • Be transparent in their own errors

  • Be able to spot system factors that can cause close calls

  • Encourage team learning from the individual error and system error.

Remove the Reluctance to Simplify

The study of root causes prevents events from occurring, promotes accurate investigation when they do and can prevent events from reaching patients. By analyzing root causes, strong leadership can study the results, compile actionable steps, create timed interventions and measure the outcomes in order to uncover root causes. In addition, using root cause analysis can benefit near misses and close calls just as much as the severe outcomes. These purposeful analytics can also be used to create training programs and better, sustainable procedures. Similarly, strides in creating a fair and just work culture beginning from the top down will promote patient safety as employees are more willing to be truthful in accurately reporting errors.

Assessments can target leaders with:

  • Ability to avoid bias, and be objective

  • Build an analytical team, and disseminate their findings through clear communication.

  • Encourage team members to participate in training programs developed by the root cause findings

  • Create a fair and just culture

Build a Deference to Expertise

Leadership should be able to oversee error management, gain and give honest feedback and encourage team self-correction from a vantage point rooted in failure preoccupation. It is highly encouraged for HROs to encourage inter-professional education and training as their top priority. Leadership in such organizations must remain flexible and adaptable to a wildly changing environment with strong situation- and self-monitoring skills. Communication and collaboration between groups are tools known to improve strengths and fill skill gaps known to cause error events thereby improving their patients’ experience. Reliable care isn’t just about cost per hospital stay, cost per member per month, diagnosis-related groups or a condition. It’s about considering the patient, who they are as an individual, what does safe and reliable care mean for them, and knowing the person so you understand their health in a better light. Being mindful, present in the here and now, with your patient increases the expression of compassion and the meaning of engagement. The emphasis needs to shift from what one can do for the patient to what can be done with (alongside) the patient. The goal shifts to actively engaging the patient in their own recovery and engaging the caretaker by creating purposeful work

Assessments can target leaders with:

  • The ability to understand and implement compassionate solutions

  • Be a strong communicator and facilitator of collaborative teamwork

  • The ability to flex and be lithe

  • The ability to receive and give honest feedback and be transparent in the process

In short, key personnel in every healthcare company control the level of reliability and patient safety based on their individual input and their ability to inspire and engage their team. Placing the right leader with the right skill becomes of utmost importance when looking to create, improve or maintain patient safety and quality. One of the very first steps in finding those hires is by assessing their skill sets, determining which skill sets your organization is lacking and how those skill sets can best be leveraged to create a better, safer environment.