Five Top Takeaways from ASHRM 2017

October 25, 2017 RL Team

Healthcare is only getting more complicated. 

If there was one "big" takeaway from last week's annual American Society of Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) conference in Seattle, it's that managing risks in healthcare is becoming more nuanced. 

The second half of that takeaway, however, is that as complexity grows healthcare professionals are responding to these challenges by developing new strategies and solutions to push the boundaries of how to keep staff, patients and organizations protected in the healthcare space. 

Here are the top five takeaways we brought home from ASHRM 2017: 

When it comes to workplace violence prevention, honor your "gift of fear" 

Workplace violence is top-of-mind for healthcare organizations globally - and many are developing robust prevention plans to improve safety. However, Jim Sawyer, Director of Security Services at Seattle Children's Hospital, shared that of the most effective strategies he knows is to tell your staff to trust their instincts. Quoting from he book, The Gift of Fear, Jim suggested that health organizations can reduce workplace violence by encouraging staff to listen to their instincts, report early and often and to always err on the side of caution. 

Incorporate human factors analysis in your RCA process 

Running an effective RCA process is a challenge for most healthcare organizations. A team at Adventist Health System were tasked with implementing a system-wide standard process to improve patient safety after analysis of closed claim data indicated vulnerability in their old process. The team turned to the aviation industry for inspiration and infused the Human Factor Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) and Human Factors Intervention Matrix (HFIX) into their RCA2 and TJC frameworks. These two concepts, inherited from HRO industries, dig deeper into the causes of an accident and generate better strategies to prevent it from happening again. The result for Adventist Health was a comprehensive 14-step framework and an interactive document guiding the RCA process for the whole organization. 

Find the balance between staff and leadership expectations 

Balancing leadership and staff expectation is a widespread challenge, and not just within the healthcare setting. Ochsner Health System was experiencing this first hand; previously the #1 feedback they received was that staff felt a lack of management support.  Recognizing how important finding a better balance was, they dedicated themselves to creating chance. Something as simple as adding a Just Culture section in their occurrence reporting forms with a link to their Just Culture Decision guide, ensures that every leader is aware of the guide and gives ongoing feedback to staff, closing that communication loop. 

Leverage the positive power of social media 

There are more than 2 million active social media users in the world today. In his presentation, John Serpe, JD, shared that a third of consumers say they use social media for health-related matters. This includes, seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans. This emerging reality means that complaints and negative reviews on social platforms are unavoidable. However, one positive indicator is that for the most part social posts tend to either be positive or provide useful feedback for the provider. “There is so much out there in social media ratings that you should want to know what people are saying about their hospitals to identify trends to improve”, said Serpe.  In fact, John mentioned that 60% of doctors also say that social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. 

Sometimes to move forward you have to look back 

One presentation reminded us of a time in the history of medicine when the notion that patients should be happy with any level or quality of care prevailed. In the evolution to today, that perspective changed, informed by the understanding that healthcare providers have a duty to provide the best quality of care possible. The Peer Review process allows a professional team to evaluate a practitioner's competence and behavior to see if it meets acceptable standards. Through this process, healthcare organizations can reduce liabilities, meet their accreditation requirements, and protect patient at large. The main challenges faced by the Peer Review process currently includes the consistency of the process between every facility, department, specialty, and health system. Through standardization of the process, the goal is to be able to get objective and honest reviews, while making the experience less punitive for any practitioner that undergoes a peer review.

Tell us what you learned at ASHRM 2017? Or keep the learning going by registering for our upcoming webinar, Implementing RCA2: Learnings From the Journey.


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