We are no stranger to rating systems like Leapfrog patient safety grades, and how a failing mark can impact your business. Despite the varied methodologies among these rating programs, patients continue to depend on them to determine the healthcare facility for them. Rightfully so, as the costs in which patients must shoulder are not insignificant. So it seems that our only options are to get ahead of these systems and rank well. Perhaps this is easier said than done. But with the sharp and judgemental eye of the consumer looming over our shoulders and the continued push towards patient-centered care leaves little room for error.
In order to overcome a poor grade or achieve a higher one, the first step is admitting you have a problem–as cliche as it sounds. The faster you recognize that there’s room for improvement, rather than wasting time on making up excuses, the faster you can get to rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on creating a culture of safety.
Throw out the damage control playbook, and be honest with the public and hospital staff. Saying “yes we have a problem, but we won’t rest until we fix it” is better than cowering away in a corner. Pulling up the ol’ bootstraps and admitting there’s an issue is a must when it comes to mobilizing the troops in order to start identifying problems and how you can go about addressing them.
Involve Senior Management
There’s no one who wants to see things get turned around more than senior management. Having them onboard from the beginning will ensure that they’re every bit as committed as you to see this come to a happy ending. What’s more, you will inevitably need to invest in programs to identify the problems and having that added level of transparency will push things along quicker.
Communication is Key
We can’t stress how important communication is throughout this process, not only with senior management but with staff. Implement daily huddles, where staff can get together and review safety protocols and identify opportunities for improvement. You can’t fix issues that you don’t know about, this gives staff an outlet to share concerns. But remember, communication is a two-way street, so don’t forget to check back in to let staff know how their concerns are being addressed.
Implement a Feedback System
Go right to the source and ask the patients. Whether you ask them during or after their stay, make sure you ask. In doing so, you may be able to uncover new problems or determine the problem you have been addressing is falling short. Don’t be afraid to follow up, and ask them what could have been done better, directly. You can even incentivize receiving feedback with a contest if it helps with bringing the lukewarm reviews to light.
When it comes to doing what’s best for your organization and the community you belong to, there’s no room for pride or being in denial. Open up the lines of communication to create a culture of trust and transparency, and before you know it worrying about compliance and safety will be a thing of the past. Of course, it goes without saying that policies and procedures play a big role here. Include it in your communication plan is a surefire way to ensure that the most update methods are always at your staffs’ fingertips.