How to Get Mandatory Staff Compliance with Patient Safety Processes

Research has shown that the words used to describe a required step in a process of care can dramatically increase the compliance you get from staff. LifeWings’ CEO, Steve Harden, offers strategies for getting compliance from your teams by focusing on the words used to describe that requirement.

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Stephen Harden, Chairman and CEO of LifeWings Partners LLC

Make sure to do two simple things: Put the requirement in writing to speak up and be assertive, and write the requirement using the magic word - MANDATORY.

Collierville, TN (PRWEB) May 15, 2014

Research has shown that the words used to describe a required step in a process of care can dramatically increase staff compliance. LifeWings’ CEO, Steve Harden, offers strategies for getting compliance from your teams by focusing on the words used to describe that requirement. For example, if the objective is to require staff to:

  •     Do a surgical Time-Out with a checklist to stop wrong surgeries;
  •     Insert a central line using a sterile drape to eliminate infections;
  •     Raise the incline on the head of the patient bed to prevent VAP; or
  •     Use SBAR when transferring a patient to prevent gaps in care...

Then the words used to describe that requirement will have a direct effect on the compliance from staff with that requirement. For commands, NASA, the FAA, and the military use the verbs: SHALL and MUST.

The words used to indicate that a behavior is mandatory really do matter. But, even though they are used by NASA, the FAA, the military, and the commercial airlines, are the words "SHALL" and "MUST" the best words for health care? No.

Research done by the health care consulting firm The Studer Group revealed that "MANDATORY" is a much better word for health care professionals.

When "MANDATORY" is used 98 percent of staff understand that this means they MUST do the behavior or task.

When the word REQUIRED is used, only 68 percent of staff recognize that they MUST do the desired behavior or task.

Interestingly, when the word EXPECTED is used, only 26 percent of staff understand that they MUST do the desired behavior or task.

Mr. Harden offered this advice on how to improve compliance with a specific behavior, task, or process, " Make sure to do two simple things: Put the requirement in writing to speak up and be assertive, and write the requirement using the magic word "MANDATORY."

The requirement should be in line with an objective, value, or mission statement of the hospital. If needed, training and resources should be provided to the staff to teach them how to comply with the requirement. For more information about Medical Team Training please visit http://www.SaferPatients.com.

About LifeWings:
LifeWings Partners, LLC is a team of physicians, nurses, Toyota-trained Lean experts, health risk managers, astronauts, military surgeons, and flight crews. Our team was the first in the United States to study the best practices of organizations with high reliability, and successfully adapt their strategies for use in healthcare. We have distilled the methodology used in commercial aviation, military aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and cutting-edge manufacturing to assist healthcare organizations create safe, efficient, and high quality hospitals and clinics.


Contact

  • Stephen Harden
    Lifewings Partners, LLC
    +1 (901) 457-7505
    Email
  • Angela Myers
    LifeWings Partners, LLC
    901-457-7505
    Email