Successful Applications of High Reliability Organization Methods to Improve Patient Safety and Actions Required to Accelerate Progress

Journal of Medical Safety Apr 2018
Healthcare organizations worldwide are embracing the practices of High Reliability Organizations to improve Patient Safety. These efforts are being met with varying degrees of success. This paper summarizes which new practices are working well and where new thought
processes are needed.

[Materials and Methods] Since the Institute of Medicine report emphasized the need for cross- industry learning in 1999 many new practices from High Reliability Organizations have been adopted by healthcare. Successful new practices and processes are resulting in improvements in outcomes, patient safety and safety culture. There are however some proven practices that have not been accepted or have failed to achieve widespread acceptance. Several of these initiatives have been reviewed to in order to identify the barriers to incorporation that remain.

[Results] As expected, the cultural differences between industries have had a large impact on the degrees of success, and the expected regulatory and legal challenges have hindered some progress. However, more fundamental factors have been identified and also play a role. These factors include contributors such as basic human behaviors and communications.

[Conclusions] Some early successes in the transfer of good practices from other industries have been realized. The impact of human behaviors and communications appear to require more attention. Although a new generation of Healthcare workers will facilitate much of the future change, new models to define and communicate future direction will be required. Many of these models already exist and should be incorporated into healthcare organizations today.