Healthcare Policy, Leadership and Performance

Healthcare Policy Priority

I firmly believe that the major priority of any health care specialist should be patient safety. All health care institutions, no matter how well they are equipped and managed, must foster the ongoing improvement of safety policies. Each facility requires different ones that would align with its functions and features. Patient safety policy covers technological safety, education of both the personnel and the patient on security issues, rewarding initiatives, identifying risk factors, doing research, etc. (Shekelle et al., 2013).

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The importance of safety issues is hard to overestimate. Even though millions of patients are treated successfully and manage to avoid readmission, there are still a lot of cases when people suffer from safety neglect on behalf of the staff. Such situations are usually connected with unintended harm resulting from unforeseeable events (e.g. an incorrect dose of medicine, post-operational health complications, an infection caused by a violation of hygiene rules, etc.). Deplorable consequences that can follow as a result of these conditions account for the significance of safety policy (Healy, 2016).

The best model to apply in this case is to DECIDE model that stands for (Guo, 2013):

  1. D – define and describe the existing problem. Policymaking is generally a problem-solving process that has the ultimate objective to remove all obstacles that hinder the successful performance of a health care organization. The extent and the source of a safety problem must be identified precisely and correctly. Only after that necessary steps can be taken.
  2. E – establish the measures required to find the best possible solution. These criteria are needed to achieve a higher safety level.
  3. C – consider all the options at your disposal. Safety issues can be resolved differently at different levels. A team approach is necessary to brainstorm various alternatives.
  4. I – identify the most suitable way out. The whole team must accept the solution; otherwise, it can fail to eliminate the problem.
  5. D – develop and apply a strategy for further action. The plan must give direction, provide assessment tools, predict changes, and suggest solutions in cases of emergency.
  6. E – evaluate the effect of the plan implementation. It is essential to assess the impact of the solution. Its success should be defined by how much it manages to increase the overall level of safety.

This comprehensive model allows both recovering the safety of the organization and prevent further failures, which makes it double-effective.

Elements Necessary for Effective Leadership Within a Coalition

A coalition is a group of people who work in a team to achieve one common goal. In health care, coalitions unite nurses, doctors, educators, medical agencies, volunteers, political organizations, and other stakeholders whose aim is to excel in providing high-quality service to patients as well as professional education to new specialists (Borkowski, 2015).

Being the leader of the coalition is a challenging task as leadership is not reduced to control – it should have its unique vision and values to rely upon. Leadership implies unceasing self-improvement, evaluation of one’s flaws and strong sides, maintenance of motivation, and a flexible approach to power. The leader of the coalition must understand that his/her task consists of both extrinsic and intrinsic control, the latter being the most difficult and important.

One needs to be reflective and consistent to be to make decisions that could potentially impact a great number of people involved. The leader must possess perfect communicative skills as they have to deal with representatives of various professions having different social, cultural, and personal backgrounds. Moreover, intercultural tolerance is also highly significant. However, despite having empathy and understanding, a good leader must be firm and decisive. He/she should be ready to take risks as otherwise, success is hardly possible. The leader is expected to encourage broad vision, self-development, and initiative of his/her staff (Borkowski, 2015).

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If we sum up the elements of good leadership, they include (Borkowski, 2015):

  • innovation encouragement;
  • value-based approach;
  • respect to people;
  • teamwork orientation;
  • ongoing education;
  • creative thinking;
  • flexible policies;
  • vitality and resistance to hardships.

In my personal experience, I often had to be a leader of team-projects and did my best to demonstrate all these qualities. First and foremost, I believe that being a good leader requires treating every person equally and respecting his/her personal and professional dignity. Humiliation, disrespect, and authoritarian approach are unlikely to give any results.

The Best Approach for Communicating with Policymaker in the Policy-Priority Issue

To influence local legislators and policymakers, you can resort to various communication methods and approaches: write emails, send faxes, call, or even reach them via social networks. For all the purposes of written communication, numerous samples can be of great help.

I believe that the best possible approach is a combination of written and telephone communication with personal interactions. To begin with, you should write a letter, in which you can describe the problem and legislation that could assist in its solution. It is essential to be precise and specific. Policymakers do not have a lot of time to devote to each problem, that is why your letter must briefly enumerate all your suggestions and the results they are going to give (it would be helpful to use statistical evidence of your arguments).

However, since my policy-priority issue deals with safety, it is not uncommon that you cannot wait for the answer as immediate measures are required to save people’s lives. In this case, I would prefer to use the phone. This way I can access the person directly and explain the gravity of the problem. As soon as you are connected to the office, you should ask a member of the staff who is responsible for safety maintenance. Local officials may respond directly without any red tape. It is crucial to reason the call profoundly to foster further action. Otherwise, the legislator will not give you what you need.

However, despite the accessibility of the local officials on the phone, it may take hours of constant calling to get through. In this case, you can schedule a meeting in person during office hours. This measure is better to be taken when you have already reached the person via other means of communication.

This step-by-step approach is reasonable as I can access a policy-maker using a sequence of moves that will show my persistence and goal-orientation. In case of urgency, I can leave out redundant steps.

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Drivers of High Performance Healthcare Systems

My current work situation is connected with service in the Medical/Surgical Tele Unit. Thus, if we take quality concerns as the major driver of professional health care, it can be stated that the technology used in the unit, as well as the work of its staff, manage to deal with patient treatment, safety, and quality issues. The EarlySense System Bed-Side Units (together with Central Display Station) is specifically designed for achieving quality improvement. The system provides unceasing control over the patient’s condition even in the absence of direct face-to-face monitoring.

It is programmed to send alert messages to nurses immediately after an emergence happens. The patient does not have problems with it as it is highly user-friendly and equipped with a touch screen. An additional sensor is accessible under the mattress. You can customize the settings and print reports if you need them for further investigation of the problem. The system rarely gives false alerts if compared to classical technology (such as telemetry or pulse oximetry) (Baig & Gholamhosseini, 2013). Thus, the EarlySense System significantly improves my workflow, which allows stating that the quality driver is positive in this case.

The same can be said about the access driver. My current work allows me to conclude that the institution realizes the importance to balance accessibility to health care with a real need. It provides detailed manuals for patients who may need instructions concerning self-care for many health conditions that do not require any serious medical treatment. There is also a telephone hotline for people to call and receive consultation about their problems. Registered nurses decide whether the described condition needs medical intervention or hospitalization. Patients can access a medical database with information about the most common diseases and major preventive measures. Moreover, the hospital features a video library where you can find a lot of materials with detailed explanations and descriptions. Thus, the access driver is also present in a positive manner.

Influencing Public Opinion Relative to the Policy Priority Through Media

In the present-day world of rapidly developing technologies, social media allows health professionals to communicate with one another without having to hold meetings. The power of the media consists of its ability to give all the necessary information to any number of recipients, who can share their experience and get feedback online (Chretien & Kind, 2013).

The opinion/editorial section of a newspaper allows one to express one’s view of policy and explain its importance to the general public. If the view is supported by statistics and expert opinions, its credibility increases (Chretien & Kind, 2013). However, this way of promoting a policy is suitable for addressing colleagues and health care representatives who are aware of the issue. The same can be applied to professional websites that are not highly popular among laymen.

For the general public, it would be much more efficient to resort to personal interviews and social networks. Personal interviewing is perfect to understand how patients perceive health care safety standards. Judging by their answers, you can find out what is missing in the current safety system and come out with a plan for improvement. The biggest advantage of such interviews is an eye-to-eye contact that generally increases trust and willingness to communicate.

As far as social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are concerned, they surely provide a huge selection of tools for sharing information. Moreover, they are extremely popular among users. This means that I would be able to communicate the significance of my policy to all categories of the population. Moreover, there is a possibility to conduct opinion surveys.

Blogs provide an opportunity for readers to respond to the information, which will give me feedback from health care professionals, patients, and all those who feel concerned with the same problem.

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However, using all those media, I will be careful about the privacy issue. This is the most delicate point in all surveys. People should feel engagement but they should not receive undesirable publicity (Chretien & Kind, 2013).

Communication and Promotion the Health of the Community

Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in society both among social activists and health care specialists. The controversy arises from the fact that this medical interference involves the sacrifice of human life without any possibility of receiving the consent of all the parties involved in the process. Therefore, communication with the general public might be difficult in this case as ethical issues often prevail over health concerns. However, a lot of experts are convinced that every woman should be able to exercise total control over her body and fertility. Since the patient can decide about all the aspects of maternity care, this one is also included on the list. Despite the presence of the moral issue, the procedure must be performed with all due care as any other regular operation.

However, it is still important to inform the patient about all the possible consequences of pregnancy interruption for her to make an adequate choice. If the patient has certain health problems, she must be given all the necessary information about the complications that may arise including possible infertility. No pressure can be put on the patient to make her change the decision as it goes beyond professional ethics. Nurses must be ready to care for the patient both before and after the procedure without showing any negative attitude. It is highly important to stay professional in any circumstances no matter what personal opinion you may have on the topic. Any woman must have access to safe abortion no regardless of her social and financial status. Women of age do not have to receive the consent of any other side. However, it is essential for health care specialists to act within the framework provided by law as in case the consequences turn out to be deplorable, it will help avoid legal prosecution (Alden, Lowdermilk, Cashion, & Perry, 2013).

References

Alden, K. R., Lowdermilk, D. L., Cashion, M. C., & Perry, S. E. (2013). Maternity and women’s health care. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Baig, M. M., & Gholamhosseini, H. (2013). Smart health monitoring systems: An overview of design and modeling. Journal of Medical Systems, 37(2), 1-14.

Borkowski, N. (2015). Organizational behavior in health care. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Chretien, K. C., & Kind, T. (2013). Social media and clinical care ethical, professional, and social implications. Circulation, 127(13), 1413-1421.

Guo, K. L. (2013). DECIDE: A decision-making model for more effective decision making by health care managers. The Health Care Manager, 27(2), 118-127.

Healy, J. (2016). Improving health care safety and quality: Reluctant regulators. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.

Shekelle, P. G., Wachter, R. M., Pronovost, P. J., Schoelles, K., McDonald, K. M., Dy, S. M.,… & Larkin, J. W. (2013). Making health care safer II: An updated critical analysis of the evidence for patient safety practices. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, 11(2), 1-94.

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