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Doctor and Nurse Bullying Puts Patients at Risk

December 17, 2015


Healthcare reform has everyone focused on outcomes. The concept of value-based purchasing means that payers will no longer pay for the volume of care, but for the quality of care. Every system and provider is looking for ways to improve the patient experience and clinical outcomes. This usually starts with new technology and new processes but evidence shows that process and technology solutions are useless without attention to the human element. Here are a few examples:AA043380

1. Wrong Site Surgeries – Even though accrediting and professional organizations adopted relatively simple processes and procedures a decade ago, we still see several thousand wrong site surgeries each year!

What’s the problem? Attention to detail, conscientiousness, communication and the ability and willingness to follow each step, every time.

2. Hospital-Acquired Infections. Processes and checklists have been shown to help nearly eliminate, for instance, ICU central line infections, but some hospitals, using the same methodology still struggle and we have tens of thousands of these infections each year.
When they looked at hospitals that are successful, we see a cultural difference – it’s a culture that values accountability, even having nurses correcting physicians who fail to follow procedure.

3. And now from the UK – it appears that bullying behavior among professionals puts patients at risk. A quarter of doctors and surgeons and a third of nurses surveyed have been bullied to behave in ways that are bad for patient care, according to a new U.K. survey covered in a recent edition of Fierce Healthcare.

The same survey shows that only one in four respondents (27 percent), and only one in five nurses (20 percent) have confidence in their senior managers.

The U.K. report emphasized the need for a focus on quality of leadership and management of people, more so than regulatory changes or practice process changes.

Our clients are realizing that their culture, which is a reflection of the collective workplace behaviors of the organization, impacts patient care. With new payment methodologies, it impacts the bottom line. What do successful organizations do?

1. Define the behaviors that drive outcomes.
2. Build a selection system that specifically targets those behaviors.
3. Build those same behaviors into every other talent function – performance management, succession planning and development.

 How Culture Drives or Hinders Hospital Outcomes

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.