Many of us work in a variety of industries and healthcare is no different in the expectations of ethical behavior and practices. Whether at the large corporation level or as an individual, ethical behavior or the perception that it is defective can lead to a host of problems. Take the example of a large insurer that had unethical practices that significantly tarnished it’s image. At the micro level, the company would conduct a raffle at a trade show and select a desired winner, throwing away other entries. While presenting the raffle as a random selection, this dishonest behavior endorsed and directed by senior leadership was indicative of much greater ethical infractions. On a much larger scale, the revenue collected (AKA premium) for at least one client was artificially inflated to provide unrelated financial resources to spend on local expenses such as PCs. This deceptive scheme was intentionally developed by this insurer and the client POC to dupe the client’s Board Members into approving the annual premium and then to receive a hidden financial kickback. This appalling unethical behavior is under investigation and could jeopardize the assets of insured clients both involved in these schemes as well as all other clients if/when these practices are made public. A lack of leadership at the senior levels led to this deviation in ethics and is similar to that of well-publized ethics compromises and potentially illegal business practices. Unfortunately, profits and self-serving outcomes can drive these intentional acts and clients as well as employees are placed at great risk.
This easily translates to practices in the patient care setting. Allowing providers to practice medicine when they are known to place patients at risk continues across the country. Undocumented near misses and unreported medical errors are in many cases supported and endorsed to preserve the assets and reputation of the organization though this is clearly unethical as well as wrong in so many other areas.
ASHRM provides outstanding education and a network for healthcare risk managers that is second to none and is the premier healthcare risk management organization in the U.S. The Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) requires very deep knowledge of risk management theory and real life practice. Earning the CPHRM designation demonstrates a strong commitment to healthcare and requires an extensive clinical and administrative knowledge. I encourage anyone in the healthcare industry to utilize the resources at ASHRM and seek professionals that have the CPHRM to fill critical patient safety & risk management positions in all areas in the industry. Here is their website: http://www.ashrm.org/
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) is the premier professional organization for healthcare administrators in all disciplines. The Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) board certification demonstrates an extensive knowledge of healthcare admninistration at every level and is highly respected in the healthcare industry.
My involvement with ACHE over many years has been rewarding and I’d encourage any healthcare professional to become a member and pursue a board certification.
Check them out here: http://www.ache.org/
Much has been publicized and said about the ICD-10 implementation that continues to be postponed. Despite the repeated warnings and notice, many providers remain unprepared, coders have not learned this completely different language, and coders are not being trained at the rate needed. Read more from the source to get ready: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/index.html?redirect=/icd10
In this day and age where people are supposedly worrying about more complex problems, the healthcare industry continues to be confounded by the big problem caused by a deceptively simple mishap: falls.
In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that over one-third of older adults, those aged 65 and up, fall to the ground each year. What’s more surprising is that falls happens as frequently in the clinical setting as much as outside the healthcare setting—this even with all the added protection of modern hospital equipment and the supervision of the medical team.
The following risk factors have been pointed out as the main reasons why patients continue to fall even in the guarded milieu of the hospital:
• Advanced age (60 years old)
• Impaired memory
• Generalized body malaise
• Use of assistive walking device such as canes and walker
• Medication use (particularly those taking four or more medications)
Researchers estimate that of the 500,000 falls that happen in hospitals each year, around 150,000 result to injuries. These injuries include bone fractures, excessive bleeding resulting to hemorrhage, and sometimes even death.
Many of the mentioned risk factors for falls can be prevented, if not totally modified through better equipment or more watchful care. It is the healthcare providers’ responsibility, therefore, to make sure that all patients are safe—away from the pain brought by hard floor impact.
A lack of fundamental measures for patient safety results to a catastrophic consequence: It costs the lives of many. PubMed of the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health affirms that most medical errors reported from US family physicians were related to prescribing errors, and more than half of the errors got to the patients.
To address this issue on patient safety, the World Health Organization launched a patient safety program – the WHO Patient Safety – in response to a World Health Assembly Resolution (2002) urging WHO and member states to deal with the problem of patient safety. The program points out the significance of patient safety as a global healthcare concern. The main thrust of the program is to coordinate, disseminate, and accelerate progress in patient safety every time and everywhere across the globe.
The three-fold approach of WHO Patient Safety in expediting patient safety advancement is comprised of the following:
• Becoming a leader and advocating for change
• Generating and sharing knowledge and expertise
• Supporting member states in the patient safety implementation process
WHO also upholds the following important steps in presenting risk management that hospitals and healthcare professionals can learn from:
• Situation and context assessment
• Risk identification, analysis, and evaluation
• Development of responses to risks
• Implementation, control, and review
A lapse in patient safety can result to loss of life. And although patient safety is an issue that will not flake off, there are countless ways of preventing tragic consequences.