5 Ways To Make Innovation Part of Your Corporate DNA

Innovation is a top priority for most CEOs, yet creating a workplace that is conducive to innovation – cycles of trials and failures followed by eventual success – is quite challenging. Here are five ways to foster innovation in your organization. 

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What Do Chemical Refineries, Nuclear Power Plants & Hospitals Have in Common?

They’re all places where people work to produce something that ultimately benefits society. Chemical refineries produce the raw materials that go into our clothing, the packaging that protects our food and the products we buy, and the gadgets we use to communicate and to entertain us. Nuclear plants produce the energy that is the lifeblood of modern society, enabling us to heat and cool our homes, schools, and workplaces. U.S. Hospitals care for the injured and chronically ill and provide a hygienic setting for people to receive some of the finest medical care in the world.

But beyond providing this public good, these places have something far more important in common.

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Could the Science of Patient Safety Have Prevented the Fatal Medical Error at Alta Bates Medical Center?

Patient safety is science not art; i.e. it’s based on rigorous identification of all possible hazards, with disciplined rules and procedures to prevent human error from triggering any given hazard. According to the science of safety, at least two things have to go wrong to trigger a fatal error like the one that occurred at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in September 2011, where the death of a cancer patient was initially ascribed to an inappropriate dosage of a nutrient administered intravenously instead of through a feeding tube.

The two factors that must be present for any accident to occur are: (1) the presence of a hazard in the system; and (2) an unsafe event – called the trigger event – which unleashes the hazard. In the Alta Bates case, the trigger event was the human error.

There are numerous hazards in any system, whether the system is a nuclear power plant, the space shuttle, an oil refinery, the air traffic system, or a hospital. Each hazard is like a ticking time bomb awaiting activation by a trigger event. The hazards in the Alta Bates case could have been: insufficient orientation for the replacement nurse, ambiguous or overly complex procedures, absence of appropriate safeguards in the procedure, labeling on the medication, pressures from work disruption, haste, or unclear hospital policy. The unsafe event – the trigger – could have been an unclear warning on the packaging or unclear dosing instructions. These details have yet to be revealed.

Applying the science of safety, the hazards and potential triggers at Alta Bates Summit would have been methodically identified and mitigated long before the replacement nurse was hired; making the probability of such a tragedy very remote.


Where Can You Get Free Nursing? 

Hospitals across the country are struggling with twin challenges of a shortage of skilled nurses and costs that are spiralling ever upward. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there were 121,000 job ads for registered nurses in June 2011, a 50% increase from the previous year. So what can hospital administrators reasonably do to address this problem? Hire more nurses?

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How To Offset the Cost of EHR Implementation

Hospitals are spending millions on electronic health records (EHR) in anticipation of meaningful use requirements that come into force in 2015. Research conducted with C-level executives from 50 hospitals paints a picture of costly EHR implementations that have failed to deliver results. Slightly more than 70% of executives indicated that EHR had not delivered expected benefits.

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