Clinical front-line staff are best positioned within the organizations to identify patient safety problems and craft solutions. However, in traditional models, safety committees are led by senior executives who are not clinically responsible for patients. This top-down approach can result in missed opportunities to address patient-centered challenges and better manage the health of the defined populations served by these organizations.
To foster teamwork, enhance empowerment, and improve the patient care environment, Operations Councils led by trained front-line staff were deployed in 15 clinical areas at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) as a performance improvement tool.
Standardized training of Council facilitators was designed and implemented to guide the performance improvement process. Balanced scorecards were developed in each Council based on the risks and concerns of that particular clinical area. After initial implementation of the Operations Councils, patient safety events declined and team engagement improved by over 34% across the medical center; the highest changes were seen in areas where Operations Councils had been deployed. Additionally, outcome metrics including area-specific and system-wide mortality and readmissions improved after implementation.
We suggest that this type of approach may be an appropriate strategy to consider in other health care organizations as such institutions are challenged to better manage the health of their defined patient populations.
Moffatt-Bruce, S., McAlearney, A.S., Aldrich, A., Latimer, T. and Funai, E. (2014), "Engaging the Health Care Team through Operations Councils: Strategies to Improve Population Health from Within", Population Health Management in Health Care Organizations (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 51-67. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1474-823120140000016003
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