Quality improvement is one of the priorities of the US healthcare system as it is often associated with people’s health and wellness. It has been estimated that almost 100,000 Americans die due to medical errors (Ginter, Duncan, & Swayne, 2018). This issue is also associated with numerous financial losses for Americans and the state budget. Therefore, healthcare facilities and health-related governmental agencies have been applying various approaches to minimize the number of errors in the healthcare setting. This paper includes a brief analysis of some risk management concepts, near-misses reporting, and methods associated with transformation and “learning” organizations that can positively affect the development of US health care.
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When it comes to risk management concepts, it is important to stress that errors should be regarded as system-based rather than related to individuals. It has been acknowledged that medical errors are often closely related to such elements as technology, knowledge, communication, and even organizational culture (Henriksen, Dayton, Keyes, Carayon, & Hughes, n.d.). It is also essential to identify various groups of errors that occur in a healthcare facility, which will help in the development of the most effective solution or correctional activity (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). Finally, although it may seem ubiquitous, it is essential to remember one of the basic concepts of risk management. If something bad can occur, it will occur.
Another way to diminish medical errors is associated with reporting. Irrespective of the negative views concerning reporting near-misses, this is an effective strategy to address the problem. Gibson, Armstrong, Till, and McKimm (2017) emphasize that reporting can be effective if the organizational culture fosters the focus on quality and collaboration. The nursing staff should be empowered and engaged in the process of decision making. Sollecito and Johnson (2013) note that physicians can play a central role in the development of such cultures and can encourage healthcare professionals to report or rather share their experiences. It has been acknowledged that people who are aware of possible outcomes of certain actions and behaviors tend to avoid risky situations, which has a favorable effect on quality (Henriksen et al., n.d.). Clearly, these reports cannot result in punitive measures but should be encouraged and even praised in different ways.
Finally, transformation organizations have been associated with the improvement in quality in different spheres. As for the healthcare system, the development of “learning” organizations leads to a decrease in the number of medical errors (Gagnon et al., 2015). One of the reasons for this positive effect is the focus on collaboration. Such transformation environments are characterized by shared responsibility, effective communication, empowerment, motivation, innovation, and leadership (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). All these concepts are primary factors that have a positive influence on the performance of healthcare professionals.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that medical errors should be regarded as an urgent issue that requires a complex approach. To minimize the number of various types of errors, it is crucial to contribute to the development of the transformation organization culture, employ risk management concepts and strategies, such as the use of near-miss events reporting. It is pivotal to empower healthcare professionals employed at different organizational levels. Every practitioner should be committed to achieving organizational goals. The focus on error elimination is one of the key components of the development of the American healthcare system.
Gagnon, M., Payne-Gagnon, J., Fortin, J., Paré, G., Côté, J., & Courcy, F. (2015). A learning organization in the service of knowledge management among nurses: A case study. International Journal of Information Management, 35(5), 636-642.
Gibson, R., Armstrong, A., Till, A., & McKimm, J. (2017). Learning from error: Leading a culture of safety. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 78(7), 402-406.
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Ginter, P., Duncan, J., & Swayne, L. (2018). Strategic management of healthcare organizations (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Henriksen, K., Dayton, E., Keyes, M. A., Carayon, P., Hughes, R. (n.d.). Chapter 5. Understanding adverse events: A human factors framework. Web.
Sollecito, W. A., & Johnson, J. K. (2013). Continuous quality improvement in health care (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.