What is a “high reliability organization,” or an HRO? It’s an organization that works continuously to avoid major mishaps through a particular culture of safety and excellence. With origins in fields like aviation and nuclear operations, a growing number of health systems, such as Lifespan, are embracing the culture change required to reduce patient harm… to become an HRO.
This article, from Becker’s Hospital Review, is a useful introduction, with tips from Quint Studer: “5 Traits of High Reliability Organizations: How to Hardwire Each in Your Organization.”
What are the five traits of HROs, and how can KaiNexus support them?
- HROs are “sensitive to operations”
HRO software pay close attention to systems and processes, looking for things that aren’t working well. KaiNexus allows everybody in the organization to report problems or “opportunities for improvement” to ensure they are quickly acted upon. The people who do the work, those closest to the work and the customer (patient) are the ones who are best positioned to identify problems with operations, the details that matter to patients, staff, and the organization.
- HROs are “reluctant to accept "simple" explanations for problems”
Sometimes problems have simple explanations and simple solutions. In those cases, KaiNexus supports people “just doing it” and taking quick action. KaiNexus also helps our customer form teams that swarm a problem to analyze it, looking for root causes and different contributing factors. When leaders encourage staff to understand “why” problems occur instead of asking “who” the problem is, organizations make better progress in their HRO journey. A3 reports, fishbone diagrams, and root cause analysis documents can be stored in KaiNexus, providing ready access to all who are involved.
- HROs “have a preoccupation with failure”
Our KaiNexus customers realize that “failures” occur every day. HROs realize that it’s best to be honest about the existence of these problems. Leaders in KaiNexus organizations encourage people to speak up and log problems and failures into the system. This is the first step in improvement - changing systems and processes to prevent the future reoccurrence of such problems.
- HROs “defer to expertise”
Rather than deferring to a person because of their position, job title, or the letters after their name, an HRO defers to the person who has the most expertise on an issue or problem. Sometimes, that is the senior person with the most experience or education. In other instances, it’s the front-line staff member with a less glamorous job. The KaiNexus system allows everybody to speak their mind and share their perspectives. It’s up to leaders to be opening to listening to all and facilitating honest discussions based on facts and reality.
- HROs “are resilient”
Improvement is hard work. Being obsessed with problems, risks, and things that go wrong can be tiring. Sometimes, we try to implement solutions that don’t work out as expected. It would be easy to get down about this, but our KaiNexus customers realize that our improvement efforts don’t always go perfectly. When leaders recognize best efforts and encourage people to capture lessons learned in KaiNexus, our cycles of learning and improvement can continue. Being resilient means not giving up when things get challenging and that’s what our customers need to do.
Becoming a high reliability organization is a critically important goal, especially in healthcare. There’s so much at stake. But developing these five HRO habits can help create a culture of success - and KaiNexus is here to support you in those efforts!
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