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22 July, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare
2 comments

Setting A New, Higher Standard For Patient Safety

Posted July 22nd, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

LAS VEGAS — Why do we insist on making the goal of improving quality of care and enhancing patient safety into such a complex and expensive task?  It is such a waste, and broadly it does not appear to be working

patient safetyJust make it personal.  I believe that if every doctor, nurse, patient care assistant, labor worker, imaging technician and anyone else who has impact on patient care and safety would think of those patients as a beloved family member or a close friend and the thought of making a preventable mistake such as leaving a bedside down would be so painful that they could not bear it, then, and only then, would quality of care improve and patients be safer in our hospitals and nursing homes.

I have written this before in connection with my mother’s death, but today I am urging my colleagues to make it personal.  On Tuesday this theme was an important part of my speech to the AHRA, the association of healthcare imaging executives and managers who are meeting here through Wednesday.

Ridiculous, scoff the consultants who make millions from quality of care engagements.  Such a simple answer to such a complex problem could not possibly work.  Healthcare is complicated, one of the most complex of human organizations ever created by man, according to Peter Drucker.  But not all complex organizations and their problems require complex solutions, and I believe this is one of those.

Personal Commitment.  What does this mean?  Well , it is certainly not some throw away phrase.  It means that nurses and other patient care professionals are compassionately tending to the needs of their patients as if they were members of their family who, if a care mistake was made and caused harm, they would not be able to bear the pain.

Impossible!  It is not fair to ask nurses to take on that kind of burden.  Really?

When I speak to healthcare organizations, I cite the Journal of Patient Safety study that reported the number of preventable hospital deaths as being as high as 400,000 a year and the reaction of my audience is almost always one of acceptance.  They know the numbers.  Even when they push back, they know, deep down, that there is a serious problem.  It is more outrageous when you consider that the numbers cited by the Journal of Patient Safety are the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every day of every week of every year, and all souls on board are lost.

How can we in good conscience accept that horrific outcome?

If you are a CEO, a CNO, a physician or other member of the patient care team, I urge you to stop accepting this horrible reality of our industry.

Set a high standard every day.  Make it personal.

© 2020 John Gregory Self

2 comments

  1. dan Ford says:

    Good for you, John!! I commend you, and understand/share your passion.
    Is your speech shareable?
    I would suggest and encourage every hospital/system CEO and Board Chair to finally get outraged and have the courage/backbone to lead the way along with medical and nursing headship, middle management and front line nursing…everyone, as you suggest, make it personal: “No more, none, not in our hospital!”
    Likewise, every health care search consultant on every search, whether the client specs require this or not.
    Thank you!!
    Dan

    • John G Self says:

      Dan, you have been an inspiration for me — your willingness to share your story and to give back to an industry we both love. I think healthcare leaders have become too numb or, worse, too “sophisticated” to be passionate about an issue. I have nickname for a CEO who is out an about talking to his or her people about values, quality of care and safety: the “traveling evangelist model.”

      I would love to co-present with you sometime. Now that would be great honor for me.

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