“Accountability encompasses the procedures and processes by which one party justifies and takes responsibility for its activities such as for achieving various organizational goals” (Lippincott Nursing Center, 2009). When a patient goes enters an office, they have already set their standards and expectations to the highest standards. From the first hello to the introduction to their provider, every action is being measured. The employees will be held accountable if the patient isn’t checked in a timely manner; their insurance information is not entered quickly or accurately. The medical assistant has to have their patients roomed in a timely manner, check vitals and enter vitals and record medications correctly. If any of these steps are not completed appropriately, that individual will be held accountable. Accountability is an anchor in any business, but it is crucial to the healthcare industry. In this paper I will identify what it means to be held accountable and tools to measure accountability.
Why is accountability important in the health care industry. Patients rely on the accountability and knowledge of their providers. This attribute is important because their health is in the hands of these individuals. This responsibility does not stop with the providers, but it is also relevant for other staff members involved in the care of the patients. Patients expect their care to be handled appropriately and efficiently. In order for the system to work accordingly, employees need to be held accountable for their actions. If employees are not consistently doing what it takes to provide excellent customer service, accountability is not being enforced, and employees create risk for the company. By not following through on task or responsibilities patients begin to question the credibility of the company, and they begin to want someone to be held accountable for the deficiencies that have occurred. How is an employee’s accountability measured in the health care industry.
As a leader, my accountability is measured by the outcome of my staff and the productivity of my staff. Standards that are measured may be, are my patients being roomed in a timely manner, are there mistakes being made by my front office when entering information. Are my providers up to date on their requirements such as CMEs (continued medical education)? Are my OSHA and HIPAA manuals current? Do I have a fire escape plan posted and did we practice drills? Are charges being entered in a timely manner? These are certain aspects of my job that are tangible and some that are intangible that assessed and that I will be held accountable for if they do not meet the set standard. Staff accountability is measured through observation and yearly reviews, unless action is required sooner such corrective action measures.
Patients also have the opportunity to send feedback through patient surveys and direct contact the leadership team. Applying ethical considerations in leadership and management. Ethics plays a large role in the different facets of healthcare. By not practicing ethical behavior, this creates room for error in the workplace. By teaching ethical behavior and exemplifying it as a leader you’re giving your employees the necessary tools to practice accountability and reliability. By incorporating this practice into the culture of your office, this leads to productivity and equips your staff to stand by behind their actions because they believe in them. By establishing this culture, it paves the path for accountable behavior. “Culture change requires committed leadership. Inadequate or inappropriate leadership has been identified as a key factor when attempts to change culture fail” (Lippincott Nursing Center, 2009).
Checks and Balances in a successful organization.
In a successful organization, checks and balances are created and implemented to ensure that the company’s success continues. Without checks and balances, the company is unable to quantify or identify the origin of its problems or how to go about correcting the situation. Without checks and balances, this leaves room for errors, which may lead to lawsuits or sick patients. For example by not providing your staff with mandated cleaning schedules, you are susceptible to infections among your patients. By requiring logs and assignments, you can then hold someone accountable if such tasks have not been completed. By identifying what process is needed and the specific outcome, employees tend to be compliant and complete their expected work. By knowing the consequences of not completing their work, they are made aware that they will be held accountable and in what way. How does accountability affect an organization’s working culture?
“Health care providers are constantly striving to improve quality and efficiency by using performance management systems and quality improvement initiatives. Creating and maintaining a culture of accountability are essential for achieving this end because accountability is the reason for measuring and improving performance” (Lippincott Nursing Center, 2009). How can you maintain a positive working culture and avoid a working culture of blame. In a leadership role, it is important to be the example of what you want within your organization. By doing so, you are developing a culture of respect without direct blame. Teach your staff how to identify the problem, how to avoid it and more importantly not to place blame. A responsible staff member will acknowledge their mistakes and make the effort to correct them.
This attitude decreases the culture of blame. For example, my staff member made a mistake, and instead of pulling her into my office and placing all the blame on her my first question is “Why are you in here?” By approaching mistakes this way, you are putting the control back into the hands of the employee/staff member. This provides the opportunity to dissect their behavior and tell me why it occurred. In the end, there is no blame, but questions, which lead to answers, that result in the process of avoiding the same mistake.
This approach negates cultural blame. In conclusion, accountability is a very productive tool in healthcare. By providing expectations for your employees they understand why and what it means to be accountable. In leadership exemplify what it means to hold yourself accountable and mirror that image for your employees. Patients depend on a culture that practices accountability and also believes in it. Commit to a set of standards, believe in them and practice those beliefs.
Lippincott Nursing Center. (2009, April). Creating a Culture of Accountability in Health Care. Retrieved from http://www.nursingcenter.com/lnc/static?pageid=935642 NY Times – Freudenheim. (1991, February 19). Business and Health – Accountability In
Health Care – NYTimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1991/02/19/business/business-and-health-accountability-in-health-care.html