Thursday, November 11, 2004

Kindergarten Games in Health Care

The November 1, 2004 issue of AHA News, the weekly newsletter of the American Hospital Association, carried an article entitled “Redesign the clinical process to enhance patient care.” The authors were Carol Haraden and Pat Rutherford, two Vice Presidents of the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The article concluded with an example of a “simple” work redesign that improved health care. It seems that using clippers rather than razors to remove body hair before surgery avoids the small razor nicks that can harbor infection.

Not only does that make sense, there is evidence to support it.

So ordinary people might think that the hospital would just decide that clippers would replace razors and that would be that.

Not so. As the authors point out, such decisive action “might annoy staff.” So they played kindergarten games. They put clippers in convenient locations and gradually moved razors farther and farther away until they disappeared altogether.

And we wonder why improving the quality of health care is so difficult.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

FREE counter and Web statistics from sitetracker.com