ELI® Addresses JCAHO Alert on Disruptive Behavior in Healthcare

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Building a Culture of Safety is Key. With the release of a new JCAHO Sentinel Alert underscoring the risks of disruptive and inappropriate behavior by healthcare professionals, ELI is providing clients with resources, services, and programming to address new JCAHO standards, engage leadership, and build a culture of safety and professionalism. An ongoing ELI survey will delve further into the specific behaviors creating the greatest patient safety and quality risks.

but these issues are particularly relevant in the healthcare environment, where disruptive behaviors may be more commonplace, egregious, and ingrained in the culture, and where the fear of retaliation for raising complaints is real and in many ways unique to the hierarchical structure of healthcare organizations.

In the wake of JCAHO’s revised Leadership standards and the release of a new Sentinel Alert emphasizing the patient safety issues created by inappropriate behavior in healthcare organizations, ELI is urging clients to employ a comprehensive approach for addressing disruptive physician behavior and unprofessional team interactions, beginning with leadership and encompassing all aspects of the environment and culture.

“JCAHO’s recommendations mirror what we tell clients in all industries,” says ELI president Stephen M. Paskoff, Esq., “but these issues are particularly relevant in the healthcare environment, where disruptive behaviors may be more commonplace, egregious, and ingrained in the culture, and where the fear of retaliation for raising complaints is real and in many ways unique to the hierarchical structure of healthcare organizations.”

The new JCAHO standards, which become effective January 1, 2009, will require healthcare organizations to create a code of conduct outlining acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and to implement a process for managing problematic behavior. Among other steps, JCAHO recommends that healthcare organizations implement skills-based training, hold everyone accountable to professionalism standards, and develop leadership role modeling and systems that reduce the fear of retaliation for raising concerns.

Because communication, teamwork, and collaboration all impact the quality of care a patient receives and the incidence of medical errors, healthcare organizations must address not just the inappropriate behavior but also the culture that allows it to thrive. ELI recommends an approach that focuses on building and sustaining a culture of safety, including:

  • Engaging leadership by demonstrating the link between behavior and patient outcomes
  • Changing behavior and the overall culture through role modeling, communication, education, measurement, and follow up
  • Building skills to create a welcoming environment for concerns
  • Implementing systems that will support ongoing reinforcement and accountability at all levels

This approach is described in further detail in the ELI paper “Dealing with Difficult Doctors” and in Paskoff’s book “Teaching Big Shots to Behave,” both available from ELI. Related training programs from ELI also provide education and skills for building a culture of safety and dealing with the types of unprofessional behavior referenced by the JCAHO Sentinel Alert, such as intimidation, bullying, retaliation, and other conduct that may occur in healthcare environments, often in times of stress or fatigue.

Additionally, ELI is currently conducting a survey on business culture and behavior designed to identify the types of behaviors creating the greatest risks in the workplace and what organizations are doing to address the conduct from a cultural perspective. Participation in the survey is open to the public, and results will be compiled into a research report to be made available this fall.

About ELI:
Founded in 1986, ELI is a training company that teaches professional workplace conduct, helping clients translate their values into behaviors, increase employee contribution, build respectful and inclusive cultures, and reduce legal and ethical risk. Many of the nation’s most prominent healthcare institutions are ELI clients, implementing ELI training programs such as Just Doctors® and NextACT®: Skills for Values-Based Leadership to build professional, collegial operations. Stephen M. Paskoff, Esq., the company’s founder and president, is a nationally recognized speaker and author on issues ranging from workplace harassment and bullying prevention to behavior change and other business culture topics. A former trial attorney for the EEOC and partner in a management law firm, he is a member of the Georgia and Pennsylvania bars.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company
listed above.

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Marla Lepore
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