Healthcare professionals have to make numerous decisions that often have an impact on people’s health. Although it has been estimated that reporting costs over $15 billion annually, it is regarded as one of the components of quality management as it ensures the development of effective practices (Casalino et al., 2016). This paper includes an analysis of a case study of the lab technician Mike concerning the relevance of reporting and quality management.
Mike did not report about a potentially dangerous situation when he decided not to take action regarding the dirty floor in the main lobby. As a result, a woman visiting the hospital fell and was seriously injured. The person received a dangerous trauma (broken hip) that was associated with significant financial losses of the patient and healthcare providers. The patient had to undergo expensive treatment, and quite a lasting recovery period was ahead. It is noteworthy that the hospital’s employee responsible for the investigation concerning the situation learned about Mike’s awareness of the spill, which led to the corresponding report to Mike’s supervisor.
The outcomes of the failure to report were manifold and rather serious. First, Mike’s failure to report led to the failure to ensure patient safety as a patient could become the victim of the unreported spill. One of the primary values and goals of healthcare professionals’ is patient safety as the medical staff should make sure that patients will be treated properly and their health will not deteriorate (Duffy, 2018). The situation also had an effect on the hospital’s quality metrics as the quality of provided care was low. At least, one of the employees (as more people could be partially responsible) did not take the responsibility to address a potentially risky condition, which led to adverse results. Clearly, the staff’s performance, as well as the company’s effort aimed at employees’ training, was characterized by low quality.
Another negative impact the situation had was a high risk of litigation. The patient could have filed a lawsuit due to the hospital’s staff negligence or medical malpractice. Every healthcare facility has to be a safe place for visitors and patients, so the organization’s inability to ensure people’s safety can result in litigation (Duffy, 2018). Moreover, the patient’s discharge was associated with certain delays, and the healthcare practitioners’ inability to communicate with the patient effectively could contribute to the patient’s dissatisfaction and her commitment to go to the court.
It is also important to note that Mike’s failure to report resulted in additional workload for other departments. The hospital had to provide care to the patient that involved the use of resources, which could be avoided. The involvement of several departments and professionals, including surgeons, rehabilitation professionals, nursing laboratory and staff, physician, was needed. The legal department can be involved if the patient decides to sue the hospital. It is clear that quite an ordinary situation can have diverse and quite adverse outcomes.
The situation requires a set of actions to be undertaken by Mike’s manager. The decision regarding Mike’s dismissal depends on Mike’s performance, his further discipline, and his reaction to the incident. Irrespective of the decision, the manager has to discuss the situation and Mike’s perspective regarding his role as well as motivations behind his actions. If the manager decides to give Mike another chance, the latter will take part in the educational intervention developed by the latter.
Apparently, there is a gap in the staff’s knowledge regarding proper decision making in the described situation. Murray (2017) claims that on-the-job training is one of the effective ways to improve the performance of healthcare professionals, as well as the entire facility. Every situation can become a basis for an educational intervention or a discussion. Mike’s manager has to develop a plan for a training session regarding quality improvement.
Healthcare professionals should be aware of the benefits of reporting, as well as specific scenarios that can be employed. If Mike had known about the consequences of his failure to report, as well as a more appropriate way to react to the case, he would have used the most effective scenario. Moreover, the medical staff should be aware of the responsibility they have and possible negative outcomes they may encounter in different situations. The manager can initiate a series of educational sessions, or these can be discussions during regular staff meetings. The corresponding guidelines and standards have to be developed to help employees make effective decisions.
On balance, it is necessary to note that a failure to report a potentially hazardous situation can lead to diverse negative effects. In the case under study, it led to compromised patient safety, an injured visitor, additional workload for several departments, financial losses, and a potential lawsuit. One of the ways to avoid the reoccurrence of such cases is the development of the corresponding standards and guidelines that will equip employees with the necessary knowledge and skills. It is essential to encourage and motivate employees to report and take responsibility, which will result in improved quality of provided care.
Casalino, L. P., Gans, D., Weber, R., Cea, M., Tuchovsky, A., Bishop, T. F., … Evenson, T. B. (2016). US physician practices spend more than $15.4 billion annually to report quality measures. Health Affairs, 35(3), 401-406. Web.
Duffy, J. R. (2018). Quality caring in nursing and health professions: Implications for clinicians, educators, and leaders (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Murray, E. (2017). Nursing leadership and management for patient safety and quality care. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.