Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Now it’s Recalls!

In last week’s blog post, I talked about my growing impatience with public apologies, connecting the dots to the importance of effective, honest, and transparent communication for excellence in leadership, including those of us on leadership teams in the health care industry!

Unfortunately, this week I have reached the same level of impatience with recalls, which are escalating in car companies as well as in the pharmaceutical industry and with other health care vendors.

We all know that as a whole, health care delivery sites in the U.S. and globally have not yet reached the highest quality and, therefore, zero occurrences of bad outcomes driven by strict adherence to safety guidelines. However, if the magnitude of violations of safety standards causing massive recalls in the industries listed above was occurring in U.S. hospitals, many would need to be closed.

In addition, if you would peruse the quality review processes in the car industry, I seriously question whether some members of their leadership teams are spending sufficient time debriefing and establishing a clear list of both lessons learned and what must be done to prevent the same bad outcomes from repeating themselves. How much into their quality improvement initiatives and how quickly are they being transparent and honest with their consumers?

What does all of this mean for us reaching for the best health and wellness practices for those we serve? I can think of at least seven implications:

1. Any recall/bad outcome is one TOO many!
2. We are taking care of human beings, not cars, and the sanctity of the trust our patients put in us cannot be violated.
3. Significant resources in ensuring our processes and procedures are correct must be placed up front rather than retrospectively!
4.Regardless of our prior success, we never can become complacent.
5.We must be as transparent as quickly as possible when we know we have made an error.
6.We must debrief on all misses and near-misses and make sure we have maximized our learnings.
7.We must turn our learnings into implemented corrective action plans to prevent the negative results from occurring again.

So the next time we hear about another recall, I would ask us to pause and make sure we review the seven implications for us outlined above. CHRISTUS Health is constantly striving for excellence because it is what we are called to do and what our patients deserve.

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