American Idol?

In Patient Safety on February 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm

For fans of the show American Idol, this season should prove to be a good one. Gone are the cookie cutter pretty-people contestants of past seasons. This year there is a diverse group of entrants one of whom actually played a “big bass” on the show the other night in an inspired performance.  To hear a well known song, played and sung with such originality can almost move the audience and the judges to tears. It is the creativity of humans that endears us and allows us to survive as a species. Often heard advice from the judges is that while song choice is key, making it your own is what puts you ahead of the pack.

What does this have to do with patient safety?

I would like to compare a song to a patient safety practice. There are so many organizations now from which an organization can view some best practices for safety.   Why do we then still have studies coming out with less than stellar improvements in the past decade of the patient safety movement?  Could it be because the song choice was there but the applicable originality was not?  Perhaps we need to take each standard safety process and truly make it our own…adapt it to the culture, adapt it to the patient population and the values of that population, and simplify the process considering how things flow in your organization. Really make it your own and it just might win you some safer outcomes.  Just because it “worked” in one environment does not guarantee success in yours.

And just as contestants are voted on and judged, the safety practice should constantly be evaluated for how well it is working and surviving…

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