How to Improve Reliability in Healthcare Workplaces

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Written by
Jenna Elizabeth
November 8, 2022

Reliability in healthcare plays a key component in holding healthcare employees accountable and keeping patients safe from harm or unfavorable outcomes. In fact, healthcare workplaces with high-reliability systems have a lower risk of error, which leads to fewer patient harm occurrences overall. Therefore, healthcare workplaces should strive to implement a robust healthcare reliability approach that ensures consistency in safety over a long period of time. Moreover, a highly-reliable healthcare system ideally will be almost free from process failures and medical errors, thus reducing patient harm to a minimum.

Improving reliability in healthcare workplaces may start with implementing a reliable employee evaluation management system. After that, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that healthcare workplaces follow six guiding domains to boost and maintain reliability in healthcare workplaces. Read on for the most effective pillars that lead to high performance and reliability in healthcare workplaces.

Importance of Reliability in the Workplace

reliable healthcare workers

While safety should be prioritized in healthcare systems, unfortunately, an epidemic of medical errors is still prevalent in many healthcare settings. In fact, one study shows that preventable patient harm occurs in 6 percent of patients across medical care settings. Therefore, one of the top domains outlined by the IOM that improves performance in healthcare workplaces is “safety.”

Safety should be a key pillar in ensuring that healthcare workers are held accountable for the care they provide their patients. As a result, educating and engaging healthcare workers to be proactively reliable employees should be the main objective for healthcare organizations looking to improve overall reliability in the workplace. Hence, the most effective way to maintain accountability within medical settings is to execute a comprehensive employee evaluation management system that includes holding healthcare employees reliable in the following ways:

Examples of Being Reliable in the Workplace: Exceeding Expectations

  • Professionalism: Employees maintain professionalism by keeping workspaces organized and neat and providing guidance to other staff by motivating them to practice professionalism.
  • Focus: Employees are self-directed and proactive. They take the initiative without being asked, complete tasks on time or early, and give undivided attention to other staff members and patients. 
  • Service orientation: Employees are multi-taskers who perform and complete tasks outside of their outlined responsibilities. They treat staff and patients with respect and priority, anticipating their needs. They meet all requests and demands from patients and staff in a timely manner. 
  • Accountability: Employees consistently arrive to work on time. They take full responsibility for all actions and duties while on shift. 

How to Improve Reliability in the Workplace

In addition to creating employee evaluation management systems within healthcare settings, the IOM identifies patient-centered care as an effective way to improve reliability in the workplace. Patient-centered care is built around the idea that healthcare is provided to a patient based on the patient’s preferences. According to one abstract published by the National Center for Biotechnology, patient-centered care can be defined as care that focuses on the patient and the individual's particular healthcare needs. Put simply, Regis College describes patient-centered care as “putting a patient in the driver’s seat.” As a result, patients become proactive and empowered in their own care, which drastically lowers unnecessary procedures and reduces patient harm. Essentially, patient-centered care can significantly improve patient satisfaction, increase employee morale, and produce optimal patient health outcomes.

Gathering Reliable Staff with Employee Reliability Evaluations

reliability in workplace

Ultimately, one of the most effective ways to improve employee reliability in healthcare settings is to gather and maintain reliable healthcare staff. This means healthcare organizations and employers should regularly communicate with and evaluate healthcare workers in a respectful manner. Furthermore, employee performance reviews should be a regulated assessment mechanism managed by supervisors to keep healthcare workers accountable. At the same time, it is important that healthcare professionals, such as nurses, who consistently exceed employee reliability standards feel valued and recognized for their work. 

The Bottom Line on Reliability

Improving healthcare employee reliability requires a multi-factor approach that takes time and consistency to execute effectively. Respectively, employers who wish to substantially reduce medical error and improve quality performance within healthcare settings should follow the core values of a high-performing, reliable workplace. Some of these core values include providing safe and patient-centered care, while other reliability measures include holding healthcare workers accountable for their actions. At the end of the day, however, the utmost goal of a successful reliability management system is to provide safe and consistent patient care, improve patient outcomes, and strive for a nearly error-free workplace.

If you are part of a healthcare organization or an employer looking to improve employee reliability, feel free to review the Institute of Medicine's six domains for healthcare quality here.

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Blog published on:
November 8, 2022

Meet Jenna, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who writes about healthcare news and updates, empathy and compassion for nurses, how to show staff appreciation and increase retention, and guides that help nurses navigate career pathways.

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