In general, a high reliability organization is that with all its systems working at maximum efficiency thereby achieving their goals and minimizing potentially fatal mistakes. However, in order to improve the reliability of an institution, it is necessary to follow certain techniques that focus on the development of organizational culture and a favorable environment in this organization (Chassin & Loeb, 2013). In terms of medical facilities, it is particularly important, as it is one of those areas where the lives of people are at stake.
First of all, good leadership is required to coach and direct the staff in a way that they could work effectively. Having a good leader and coach is also crucial because they can make the system work harmoniously and at maximum efficiency. Most importantly, leaders should teach employees to be sensitive to the processes that occur within the facility (Chassin & Loeb, 2013). In this respect, paying close attention to every detail, understanding what works and what does not, and not relying on assumptions is imperative in maintaining the system.
The second key trait of a high reliability organization is the ability to find simple solutions to the problems. Indeed, many institutions are reluctant to accept simple solutions to the issues they face. Instead, they often complicate the situation and spend many resources to solve the problem (Joshi & Nash, 2005). Certainly, there are cases when it is necessary to dig deeper into the problem, but they happen rarely, and a high reliability organization has to have the ability to identify them beforehand.
Another important trait of a high reliability organization is a concern with the possibility of a failure. All the employees of such an organization should always take into account the possibility that some processes can go wrong. In this respect, medical errors must be identified and corrected before they cause harm to patients. Furthermore, this process of being extremely attentive must be constant, as, otherwise, the system will not work properly.
One more key feature of a high reliability organization is taking into consideration the opinion of high-skilled employees on a certain matter. Leaders of such institutions should listen to the hospital staff about the processes that occur in them, particularly, the advantages and disadvantages of the operations and their suggestions on how to improve the situation (Joshi & Nash, 2005).
In addition, a crucial trait of a high reliability organization is resilience. In fact, this peculiarity is focused on being always prepared to any challenges and having alternatives in any difficult situation (Chassin & Loeb, 2013). Effective leadership is vital in this case, as it is responsible for creating good evaluation tools and uniting people with the same purpose.
Influence on Clinical Practice
Thus, all the key components of being a high reliability organization definitely have a great impact on clinical practice. Moreover, these peculiarities play a much greater role in medical institutions than in other organization, as patients’ lives often depend on the decisions based on these components.
For example, being transparent with the healthcare staff about hospital operations provides more understanding to the employees about the potential problems which, in turn, leads to better performance. Secondly, making rounds themselves is necessary for leaders, as they can observe all the operations firsthand, which will definitely help them make right decisions (Joshi & Nash, 2005). Thirdly, better communication allows identifying problems more accurately thereby determining whether a simple solution will be enough to solve them or a more complex approach is required.
Additionally, detecting potential medical failures is vital in clinical practice, as it can cost patients’ lives. Moreover, employees have a closer connection to patients and their needs, therefore, leaders should always take into account their suggestions on how to improve patient care. Lastly, having a proper response to any contingency is also critical in the provision of healthcare (Chassin & Loeb, 2013). Generally, all these traits of a high reliability organization are critical in clinical practice, as they help improve the overall quality of patient care.
Chassin, M. R., & Loeb, J. M. (2013). High‐reliability health care: Getting there from here. The Milbank Quarterly, 91(3), 459-490.
Joshi, M., & Nash, D. B. (2005). The healthcare quality book: Vision, strategy, and tools. Cambridge, MA: Foundation of the American College.