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The Resiliency of High Reliability Organizations

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Posted by Annette Shultz

Resiliency

What is the resiliency of a high reliability organization? What would a high reliability healthcare organization be resilient to?

First, let’s discuss resilience in general. Described as the ability to not only endure stress but to quickly respond to and recover from inevitable, unpredictable disruptions, resilience seems to be an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps to not only prevent trauma but to adjust to or recover from it.

Some common examples are:

Water Security: a city with a large number of buildings equipped to harvest and store rainwater is resilient to drought.

Energy: a data center that produces its own energy with solar panels and has backup generators is resilient to a power outage.

Economy: a city with a diversified economy is resilient to the collapse of any one industry.

Note that resilience is different from recovery. Resilience is robustly designing facilities, infrastructure, equipment, processes and systems to be resistant to interruption and endure change. Recovery is merely a plan and collection of resources used to restore function after an interruption.

A high reliability organization is resilient to environmental, governmental and organizational stresses:

  • Their internal systems are adaptable to change
  • Their people feel important and loyal to the organization’s cause
  • The leadership is involved in all areas of the industry so they know how to stay on track

It’s no different in a healthcare facility.

A Performance Improvement Solution is just one piece of the high reliability healthcare puzzle, along with:

  • Teamwork
  • A Culture of Safety
  • The Electronic Health Record

Having a complete and adaptable Performance Improvement Solution makes a healthcare facility resilient to many stresses and interruptions common in the industry:

  • Poor Reputation: ensuring needed EOC repairs are not forgotten and patient complaints are addressed in real time makes the facility resilient to a poor reputation and low HCAHPS scores.
  • Accreditation Failures: having a system that allows the facility to be survey-ready at all times makes them resilient to survey deficiencies and reimbursement reductions.
  • Financial Burden: employing a system that improves the quality, efficiency and overall value of the care provided qualifies facilities for financial incentives. When that system also reduces the cost of providing care the facility is especially resilient to financial burdens.
  • Safety Hazards: vigilantly inspecting and documenting the safety of the hospital environment allows the facility to be resilient to safety hazards.
  • Preventable HACs: having a complete process for observation of nursing practice, interviewing staff for knowledge and developing improvement strategies makes the facility resilient to preventable HACs.
  • Leadership and Staff Apathy: keeping senior leadership connected to daily operations allows them to get the know and build trust with the staff, see what it’s like on the front lines and identify obstacles to staff performance. This makes the facility resilient to leadership and staff apathy.

So, if your facility is striving for high reliability be sure your course includes resiliency. Don’t just have a plan for recovering after a crisis, face it head-on knowing that all the infrastructure you’ve worked so hard to put in place will keep you strong.

Readiness Rounds has spent the last ten years working one-on-one with clients, coaching them on our high reliability methodology. We have built an all-inclusive system that when implemented system-wide can and will improve a hospital's main performance outcomes, for such metrics as CMS and HCAHPS star levels, readmission rates, survey findings, and more. In fact, as your high reliability partner, we guarantee improvement. 

Take a look at the case study: White Plains Hospital Pioneers the Country's First High Reliability Approach

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Would you like to see how the high reliability model may help improve your outcomes? We offer free consultations to see how we can work together to achieve your goals. Book a free consultation now.

Topics: High Reliability Organization

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