HR Initiatives that can Improve Patient Safety

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According to last year’s Healthcare HR Initiatives Survey, in order to relate HR to improving patient safety, healthcare organizations are primarily focused on employee development. A majority of respondents, 82%, reported that they’re striving to improve workforce education and development in an effort to ensure quality care, which is an 11% increase from 2011. In order to improve workforce development and education, healthcare organizations need to embrace employee performance and development best practices, such as utilizing consistent positive coaching, deploying effective employee training and using talent management technology, like performance management and learning management software, to track these initiatives. 

The HR Initiatives SurveyThroughout July, we’ll be posting funny memes on Facebook to promote HR Initiatives 2013 — even Ryan wants to make sure you take the survey. Complete our 5 question survey by 7/31, and you’ll be entered to receive 1 of 5 ASHHRA annual memberships! 

In order to guarantee that patients are receiving the highest level of care, employees must be given the resources and education they need to perform their jobs well. Healthcare organizations must ensure that they are coaching and training people adequately for successful employee performance management. Managers should utilize positive feedback practices to reinforce positive employee behaviors. Progressive organizations should consider utilizing the feedback features offered by performance management software. Within the system, managers can keep track of employee successes and recognize them accordingly — this helps reinforce positive behavior. By tracking employee achievements in an online platform, managers and HR can go in at any time and see how well an employee is performing. Making this data accessible also connects employees to their day-to-day work and shows how it relates to the overall patient safety goals of their organization, which can be highly motivating, even in a stressful work environment.

However, it’s not just about performance when it comes to HR strategies around patient safety. Last year’s HR Initiatives Survey results showed that 64% of healthcare organizations are working on hiring for ‘cultural fit’ in order to achieve successful rates of patient safety. Trinity Health System’s Director of Education and Training, Kathie Pasquarella, noted: “Every manager assesses employee skills initially [at Trinity], as well as ongoing and works toward an environment that supports and encourages solid performance. We must ensure that we are coaching and training people adequately. Successful employee performance management begins with the hiring process – are we evaluating candidates’ skills according to the expected organizational, departmental, and job-specific requirements prior to bringing them on board?”

Another way to improve patient safety is through employee education. Utilizing a learning management system allows healthcare organizations to track course completions and deliver safety training in an easy to digest online format. Healthcare employees must be re-certified in certain safety requirements for healthcare organization to be deemed compliant by regulatory bodies such as The Joint Commission. With a learning management system, employees are able to take courses through an online platform 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. In addition, healthcare organizations can use the system to track completion for live in-person sessions. The flexibility an online education platform offers is ideal for those working in healthcare, since staff members aren’t always able to go offsite to attend live training sessions. With a learning management system, part of their safety training can be completed online, making it easier and faster to complete. 

When a healthcare organization presents their employees with the opportunity to grow and improve in the workplace, they are able to provide better care to their patients. By providing consistent and positive employee feedback in a performance management system, hiring for cultural fit and utilizing a learning management system to deliver easily accessible employee training, healthcare organizations can foster a culture that drives patient safety. 

Take the 2013 HR Initiatives survey, and you’ll be invited to the LIVE results webinar where healthcare talent management experts will weigh in on this year’s results. Take the survey now at: www.YourHRInitiatives.com.  

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.