leadership in - Joint Commission

leadership in - Joint Commission
leadership in
healthcare organizations
A GUIDE TO JOINT COMMISSION LEADERSHIP STANDARDS
a governance institute white paper • winter 2009
The Governance Institute®
The essential resource for governance knowledge and solutions®
6333 Greenwich Drive • Suite 200 • San Diego, CA 92122
Toll Free (877) 712-8778 • Fax (858) 909-0813
governanceinstitute.com
About the Author
Paul M. Schyve, M.D. is the senior vice president of The Joint
Commission. From 1989 until 1993, Dr. Schyve was Vice President for
Research and Standards, and from 1986 until 1989, he was the Director
of Standards at The Joint Commission. Prior to joining The Joint
Commission, Dr. Schyve was the clinical director of the State of Illinois
Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Dr. Schyve received his undergraduate degree from the University
of Rochester, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He completed
his medical education and residency in psychiatry at the University
of Rochester, and has subsequently held a variety of professional and
academic appointments in the areas of mental health and hospital
administration, including as director of the Illinois State Psychiatric
Institute and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University
of Chicago.
Dr. Schyve is certified in psychiatry by the American Board of
Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the
American Psychiatric Association. He is a member of the board of
directors of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology,
a founding advisor of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, the chair
of the Ethical Force Oversight Body of the Institute of Ethics at the
American Medical Association, and a former trustee of the United
States Pharmacopeial Convention. He has served on numerous advisory panels for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Institute of
Medicine. Dr. Schyve has published in the areas of psychiatric treatment and research, psychopharmacology, quality assurance, continuous quality improvement, healthcare accreditation, patient safety,
healthcare ethics, and cultural and linguistic competence.
The Governance Institute
The Governance Institute serves as the leading, independent source
of governance information and education for healthcare organizations
across the United States. Founded in 1986, The Governance Institute
provides conferences, publications, videos, and educational materials
for non-profit boards and trustees, executives, and physician leaders.
Recognized nationally as the preeminent source for unbiased governance information, The Governance Institute conducts research
studies, tracks industry trends, and showcases governance practices
of leading healthcare boards across the country. The Governance
Institute is committed to its mission of improving the effectiveness
of boards by providing the tools, skills, and learning experiences that
enable trustees to maximize their contributions to the board.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
i
The Governance Institute
®
The essential resource for governance knowledge and solutions®
Toll Free (877) 712-8778
6333 Greenwich Drive • Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92122
governanceinstitute.com
Jona Raasch pre s id e n t
Charles M. Ewell, Ph. D. c ha irma n
James A. Rice, Ph. D., FACHE v ic e c ha irma n
Cynthia Ballow v ic e pre s id e n t , medical leadership inst it ut e
Sue E. Gordon v ic e pre s id e n t , c on fe re n c e services
Mike Wirth v ic e pre s id e n t , busine ss development
Patricia-ann M. Paule d ire c t or , ope rat ions
Heather Wosoogh d ire c t or , member re lat ions
Carlin Lockee ma n a gin g e d it or
Kathryn C. Peisert e d it or
Meg Schudel assist ant e d it or
Amy Soos se nior researcher
Glenn Kramer c re a t ive d ire c t or
Leading in the field of healthcare governance since 1986, The Governance
Institute provides education and information services to hospital and health
system boards of directors across the country. For more information about
our services, please call toll free at (877) 712-8778, or visit our Web site at
www.governanceinstitute.com.
The Governance Institute endeavors to ensure the accuracy of the information it
provides to its members. This publication contains data obtained from multiple
sources, and The Governance Institute cannot guarantee the accuracy of the
information or its analysis in all cases. The Governance Institute is not involved
in representation of clinical, legal, accounting, or other professional services.
Its publications should not be construed as professional advice based on any
ii
Leadership in healthcare organizations
specific set of facts or circumstances. Ideas or opinions expressed remain the
responsibility of the named author(s). In regards to matters that involve clinical
practice and direct patient treatment, members are advised to consult with
their medical staffs and senior management, or other appropriate professionals,
prior to implementing any changes based on this publication. The Governance
Institute is not responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors
or omissions in our publications whether caused by The Governance Institute or
its sources.
© The Governance Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication
in whole or part is expressly forbidden without prior written consent.
Table of Contents
part one: introduction and background
 1 Chapter 1: Leaders and Systems
 
1
The Healthcare Organization as a System
 
2
The Leaders of a System
 3 Chapter 2: What Leaders Do
 
3
The Goal: Safe, High-Quality Patient Care
 
4
Leaders Working Together
 
4
But Disagreements Arise
 
5
A New Approach to Collaboration
 
5
The “Leadership” Chapter
part two: the joint commission leadership standards
 7 Chapter 3: Leadership Structure
15 Chapter 4. Leadership Relationships
19 Chapter 5. Hospital Culture and System Performance
27 Chapter 6. Leadership Operations
35 Conclusion
Leadership in healthcare organizations
iii
iv
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Part One:
Introduction and Background
Chapter 1. Leaders and Systems
The Healthcare Organization as a System
Good leadership is important for the success of any organization. In
a healthcare organization, good leadership is more than just important—it is absolutely critical to the organization’s success. Why is it so
critical—but also challenging—in healthcare organizations? Who are
the “leaders” in healthcare organizations? What is “good leadership”
in healthcare organizations? And what is the “success” that healthcare
organizations seek? These are the questions that Joint Commission
accreditation standards on leadership attempt to answer and are the
focus of this white paper, which serves as a guide to the standards.
The leadership standards discussed in this white paper are published
in The Joint Commission 2009 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual
for Hospitals “Leadership” chapter, and became effective January 1,
2009. They are not, however, the first leadership standards issued by
The Joint Commission; the importance of the organization’s leaders
working together has been a theme in the standards since 1994, when
the first chapter on “leadership” was added to the standards.
For many years prior to 1994, the standards included chapters
on “Management,” “Governance,” “Medical Staff,” and “Nursing
Services.” In fact, each department in the organization had its “own”
chapter of standards, as if the good performance of each unit—governance, management, radiology, dietary, surgery, and so forth—would
assure the success of the organization. The Joint Commission sought
the advice of some of the nation’s leading healthcare management
experts and clinical leaders from both practice and academia to redesign this unit-by-unit approach. They were unanimous in their advice:
stop thinking of the healthcare organization as a conglomerate of units
and think of it as a “system.” A system is a combination of processes,
people, and other resources that, working together, achieve an end.
Our advisors explained that a healthcare organization, such as a
hospital, could be imagined to be like a watch. A watchmaker could
gather from around the world the best-in-class components—spring,
regulator, bearings, and so forth—to assemble, but the resulting watch
would be unlikely to run, let alone keep accurate time. It’s how the
components work together that creates an accurate watch. In fact,
for the watch to work perfectly it may be necessary to make compromises in how each component works; for example, a spring made of
the strongest material may not be the best contributor to a delicate,
accurate watch if it does not fit well with the other components.
Healthcare organizations are not watches, but the analogy applies.
If we want a healthcare organization to succeed, it must be appreciated as a system, the components of which work together to create
success. It is not possible to determine what each component should
be and do unless it is examined in the light of the goals for the system
and the rest of the system’s components. For a healthcare organization, the primary goal is to provide high-quality, safe care to those who
seek its help, whether they are patients, residents, clients, or recipients
of care. (For the sake of simplicity in this white paper, we will refer
to these individuals as “patients.”) While there are other goals for a
healthcare organization, including financial sustainability, community service, and ethical business behavior, The Joint Commission’s
primary focus is on the organization’s goals of providing high-quality,
safe care to patients.
Rather than thinking of the healthcare organization as a
conglomerate of units, think of it as a “system”—a combination
of processes, people, and other resources that, working
together, achieve an end.
Of course, this system view of healthcare organizations led to a different
perspective on leadership. No longer was the focus to be on the performance of each group of leaders, but rather, on how the leaders in the
organization work together to provide leadership for the organization that would enable the organization—as a system—to achieve
its goals. During the decade following the introduction of the first
“Leadership” chapter, the remaining standards in the “Governance”
and “Management” chapters were fully integrated into the leadership
standards and, by 2004, these two chapters disappeared entirely—the
roles of the governing body and senior management contributing to
the organization’s leadership rather than being silos within the organizational system.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
1
The Leaders of the System
Who are the “leaders” and “groups of leaders” in an organization? In
most organizations, there are two groups of leaders: the governing
body, and the chief executive officer and other senior managers (which
may be referred to collectively as the “C-suite”). If the governing body
and the senior managers do not work together, the organization’s goals
are unlikely to be met and, sooner or later, the latter group departs.
The same is true in a healthcare organization—the governing body
selects the chief executive officer. But most healthcare organizations—
certainly hospitals—have a third leadership group: the leaders of the
physicians and other licensed independent practitioners (whether
employed or “voluntary”) who provide patient care in the organization. In a hospital, the physicians and other licensed independent
practitioners are organized into a “medical staff” and the leaders of
the medical staff contribute to the leadership of the organization. This
third group of leaders is unique in the U.S.; it is not found in manufacturing, banking, education, or other service industries. Why this
difference in healthcare organizations?
In healthcare, decisions about a patient’s diagnosis and treatment are
made by “licensed independent practitioners,” most commonly physicians, but also including other clinicians such as dentists, podiatrists,
or psychologists who have been licensed by the state to diagnose and
treat patients. A person without a license who diagnoses and treats
a patient through activities that are covered by any of the licenses is
deemed to be practicing illegally—“practicing without a license.”
This unique role of physicians and other licensed independent practitioners within a healthcare organization has two implications for the
organization’s ability to reach its goals as a system:
•• First, the licensed independent practitioners (for example, physicians)
cannot be clinically supervised by someone who is not a licensed independent practitioner. If an unlicensed individual were to clinically supervise a physician or other licensed independent practitioner, that individual would be “practicing without a license,” and, therefore, acting
illegally. (Note that a licensed independent practitioner may be administratively supervised by a non-licensed independent practitioner [for
example, as an employee]; it is clinical supervision that can only be provided by someone who is also licensed to practice).
•• The second implication for the healthcare organization is that the clinical decisions licensed independent practitioners make about their
patients drive much of the rest of the organization’s use of resources—
from nursing care to diagnostic imaging to laboratory testing to medication use—and affect the organization’s ability to achieve its goal of
providing high-quality, safe care.
An organized body of physicians and other licensed independent practitioners has not only the technical knowledge, but also the standing
to provide clinical supervision and oversight of its members’ clinical
care and performance. Therefore, to fail to adequately incorporate into
the organization’s leadership the licensed independent practitioner
2
Leadership in healthcare organizations
leaders who can evaluate and establish direction for the clinical care
and decision making of licensed independent practitioners throughout
the organization, is to create a fundamental gap in the leadership’s
capability to achieve the organization’s goals with respect to the safety
and quality of care, financial sustainability, community service, and
ethical behavior.
For this reason, Joint Commission standards for leadership address
three leadership groups:
1. The governing body
2. The chief executive and other senior managers
3. The leaders of the licensed independent practitioners
In a hospital, this third leadership group comprises the leaders of the
organized medical staff. Only if these three leadership groups work
together, collaboratively, to exercise the organization’s leadership
function, can the organization reliably achieve its goals (as mentioned
above: high-quality, safe patient care; financial sustainability; community service; and ethical behavior).
In some organizations, the individuals who comprise these leadership groups may overlap. In small organizations, they may be the same
individuals, or even one individual in the smallest organization. But the
leadership function is the same, whether performed collaboratively by
different or overlapping groups, or by the same group of individuals,
or even by one person.
A hospital is the most complex healthcare setting in which these
three groups of leaders must collaborate in order to successfully lead
the organization. For this reason, the “Leadership” chapter includes
among the leaders of the organization, the leaders of the medical staff.
(To simplify this white paper, while at the same time addressing this
most complex setting, it will refer to the leaders of the licensed independent practitioners as the “leaders of the medical staff,” and to the
members of the medical staff as “physicians.”)
However, because the medical staff has specific activities beyond its
participation in the organization’s leadership (for example, supervising
the care provided by physicians in graduate education programs such
as internships and residency programs), there continues to be to be
a separate chapter of standards entitled “Medical Staff” in the 2009
Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals. This “Medical Staff”
chapter requires that the medical staff have a set of bylaws and rules
and regulations that are adopted by the medical staff and approved by the
governing body. These documents are the rules, procedures, and parameters that the governing body and the medical staff (and its leaders)
have mutually agreed will guide their interactions. These rules, procedures, and parameters should be focused on enabling collaboration in
the achievement of safe, high-quality patient care. (While the standards
in the “Medical Staff” chapter are not the focus of this white paper,
there will be further discussion below about the role of the medical
staff leaders within the leadership of the organization.)
Chapter 2. What Leaders Do
The Goal: Safe, High-Quality Patient Care
The quality and safety of care provided by a healthcare organization
depend on many factors. Some of the most important are:
•• A culture that fosters safety and quality
•• The planning and provision of services that meet the needs of
patients
•• The availability of resources—human, financial, physical, and information—for providing care
•• A sufficient number of competent staff and other care providers
•• Ongoing evaluation and improvement of performance
Only the leaders of a healthcare organization have the resources, influence, and control to provide for these factors. It is the leaders who can
together establish and promulgate the organization’s mission, vision,
and goals. It is the leaders who can strategically plan for the provision of
services, acquire and allocate resources, and set priorities for improved
performance. And it is the leaders who establish the organization’s
culture through their words, expectations for action, and behavior—
a culture that values high-quality, safe patient care, responsible use of
resources, community service, and ethical behavior; or a culture in
which these goals are not valued.
While leadership’s responsibility includes strategically addressing the
organization’s culture, planning and provision of services, acquiring
and allocating resources, providing sufficient staff, and setting priorities for improvement, the organization’s leaders must also actively
manage each of these factors. Strategic thinking focuses on where to
go, while management focuses on implementing a plan and sustaining
the activities needed to get there. In between the where and the implementation lies determination of how to achieve the strategic goal—a
determination that requires both strategic skills and management
skills. Therefore, to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities, leadership of
an organization engages in both strategic and management thinking.
“Fiduciary,” despite starting with “fi,” is not the same as “financial”—a
confusion that has reigned in boardrooms for many years. A fiduciary
responsibility is one of trust; it means that one acts to the best of one’s
ability in the interest of another, not in self-interest. The “other” can
trust the fiduciary.
The “other” in a healthcare organization includes, as in other industries, the person or agency that has provided the organization with
financing: the taxpayer, the bondholder, the stockholder. But in a
healthcare organization, whether not-for-profit or for-profit, the first
fiduciary obligation is to the patient. From Hippocrates on, the primary
obligation in healthcare is “first, do no harm.” And that ethical obligation has been taken on by those who choose to work in healthcare—
not just those trained as clinicians, the doctors and nurses, but also
the managers, executives, and trustees.
In a hospital, it is difficult—or, more accurately, impossible—for each
leadership group, on its own, to achieve the goals of the hospital system:
safe, high-quality care, accompanied by financial sustainability, community service, and ethical behavior. An all-wise governing body, an exceptionally competent chief executive and senior managers, and a medical
staff composed of Nobel Prize-winning physicians cannot, each on their
own, achieve safe, high-quality care, let alone all of these goals.
An examination of the ingredients for safe care—the “first” obligation—elucidates the need for collaboration among these groups. For
years, it had been recognized that unless a physician is both technically
competent and committed to his or her patients, he or she is at risk of
providing the wrong care: either providing care that is not needed, or
failing to provide care that is needed, or providing needed care incorrectly. These personal errors of overuse, underuse, and misuse are to
be expected if a physician is incompetent or uncommitted, or both.
That is why a hospital medical staff invests so much effort in gathering,
verifying, and evaluating the credentials of an applicant for clinical
privileges, and why the governing body has the final responsibility for
granting the privileges after considering the medical staff’s recommendations. Traditionally, when a physician who had been granted clinical
privileges made an error, the cause was attributed to the physician—
he or she was either incompetent or uncommitted (for example, not
attentive), or both. As a result, the credentialing process would be made
ever more rigorous to keep such individuals from “slipping through”
in the future. But no matter how rigorous a credentialing process and
how careful a privileging decision, physicians (and other healthcare
practitioners) make errors. Even the most competent and committed
make them. The breakthrough came when it was recognized that,
Leadership in healthcare organizations
3
truly, “to err is human”—errors are literally built into our cognitive
and motor functions. Based on this recognition, careful study of how
other high-risk endeavors (such as the commercial passenger airline
industry) became reliably safe provided approaches and methods for
making safe those processes in healthcare that are highly dependent
on fallible humans.
These approaches depend upon “systems thinking”—recognizing
that the hospital, or other endeavor, is a system, and that the system
can and must be designed to compensate for the errors that are likely
to be made by any of its components. In healthcare, although the
cognitive and technical skills of physicians are critical to the quality
of patient care, these same physicians, no matter how competent and
committed, will make errors. The best protection against those errors
is generally not to be found in the physicians becoming more competent and more committed, even in those cases in which greater competence or more commitment could be attained. Rather, the protection
is to be found in the processes within which the physicians work.
These processes can be designed to prevent human errors, to stop
the errors before they reach the patient, and to mitigate the errors’
effects on the patients they reach. So, achieving safety in patient care
requires competent, committed healthcare professionals working in
safety-creating processes.
It is now recognized that a team delivers patient care in the hospital,
and, consequently, there is a growing emphasis on the teamwork of the
patient care team—the clinical “microsystem.” Even the patient and
the patient’s family are now recognized as part of this microsystem.
Teamwork also describes the desired state of collaboration among the
leadership groups of the hospital. Studies of well-functioning teams
have identified certain universal characteristics:
•• A shared vision and goal among members
•• A shared plan among members to achieve the goal
•• Clarity about each member’s role
•• Each member’s individual competence
•• Understanding other members’ roles, strengths, and weaknesses
•• Effective communication
•• Monitoring other members’ functions
•• Stepping in to back up other members as needed
•• Mutual trust
Approaches for building safe processes depend upon “systems
thinking”—recognizing that the hospital, or other endeavor,
is a system, and that the system can and must be designed to
compensate for the errors that are likely to be made by any of
its components.
The leadership groups in a hospital should work as a team in leading
the organization—each member (or group) on the team holding a
common vision and goal, understanding his or her contribution, stepping in to help when another member struggles or falters, and trusting
the other members to do the same. Of course, sometimes leadership
groups—the governing body, the chief executive and other senior
managers, and the medical staff leaders—may not see eye-to-eye with
regard to strategy and management, or even with regard to the organization’s mission, vision, or goals. When this occurs, the relationship
between the governing body and the chief executive is clear, and the
chief executive responds to the governing body’s direction, changes
the board’s mind, or leaves.
But when there is a disagreement between the leaders of the medical
staff and the governing body or the chief executive, the relationship
is more complex. The governing body has ultimate responsibility:
Standard LD.01.03.01 states, “The governing body is ultimately
accountable for the safety and quality of care, treatment, and services,”
and the rationale for this standard is, “The governing body’s ultimate
responsibility for safety and quality derives from its legal responsibility and operational authority for hospital performance.” There is
little ambiguity in law or in Joint Commission standards as to where
the ultimate responsibility and authority lie—it is with the governing
body.
However, as discussed above, the governing body, because it is not
a “licensed independent practitioner,” cannot clinically supervise
the patient care decisions made by the individual physicians on the
medical staff. That supervision usually comes through the organized
medical staff itself, most of whose members are licensed independent practitioners. In fact, this supervision and oversight is a primary
Leaders Working Together
But who is responsible for the design and implementation of the
processes in the hospital?—the chief executive and other senior
managers. Who encourages and motivates the chief executive to
invest in these processes?—the governing body. If, for example, the
governing body consistently asks the chief executive only about the
bottom line (that is, about the hospital’s financial sustainability), the
chief executive is likely to focus both his or her—and the hospital’s—
attention and resources primarily on that goal. But, if the governing
body repeatedly asks the chief executive about patient safety, the chief
executive will focus attention and allocate resources to designing and
implementing safety-creating processes throughout the organization.
If the redesigned processes through which clinicians work are to effectively create safety, this redesign cannot be accomplished without the
involvement of the clinicians and their leaders, whose (all too human)
errors are to be prevented, stopped, or mitigated.
Therefore, adopting a systems approach to creating patient safety—a
primary goal of the hospital—means that all three leadership groups
must be involved. The same reasoning applies to achieving the other
goals of the hospital: financial sustainability, community service, and
ethical behavior. The governing body, the chief executive and other
senior managers, and the leaders of the medical staff must collaborate
to achieve these goals.
4
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Over time, team members develop these individual skills and attitudes
and the team improves its collective function. The “Leadership” standards are intended to facilitate and generate teamwork among the
leadership groups—teamwork to achieve safe, high-quality care.
But Disagreements Arise
responsibility of the medical staff. In the “Medical Staff” chapter of
standards, Standard MS.03.01.01 says, “The organized medical staff
oversees the quality of patient care, treatment, and services provided
by practitioners privileged through the medical staff process.” In the
“Leadership” chapter, Standard LD.01.05.01 says that the “organized
medical staff is accountable to the governing body.” Consequently, for
the governing body to effectively fulfill its accountability for the safety
and quality of care, it must work collaboratively with the medical staff
leaders toward that goal.
There is little ambiguity in law or in Joint Commission standards
as to where the ultimate responsibility and authority lie with
respect to safety and quality of care—it is with the governing
body. However, as the board is not a “licensed independent
practitioner,” it cannot clinically supervise patient care decisions.
Consequently, to effectively fulfill its accountability for the safety
and quality of care, the board must work collaboratively with the
medical staff leaders toward that goal.
A New Approach to Collaboration
At times the desired collaboration among all three leadership groups
is absent. From 2002 through 2004, a series of serious and persistent
disagreements between the governing bodies and medical staffs in a few
hospitals were publicized in the trade media—and some even reached
the mass media. The spirit, let alone the practice, of cooperation seemed
to be abating, and many worried about the effect on the quality and
safety of patient care. To evaluate and address this problem, in 2005
The Joint Commission appointed a twenty-nine member Leadership
Accountabilities Task Force, composed of representatives from
hospital governing bodies, hospital managers, medical staff leaders,
nursing staff leaders, and state and federal hospital regulators.
The name of the Task Force was significant; rather than focusing
on the rights of the various parties (the direction the disagreements
had taken), the Task Force was asked to focus on both the groups’
individual responsibilities and their mutually shared responsibilities.
The primary, mutually shared responsibility of all three leadership
groups was immediately agreed upon: high-quality, safe patient care.
And all three groups agreed that they each contributed to the other
shared goals of financial sustainability, community service, and ethical
behavior. The Task Force helped frame a revised “Leadership” chapter
for hospitals that, with some alterations, was also applicable to other
types of accredited healthcare organizations such as ambulatory care,
behavioral healthcare, home care and hospice, laboratory and longterm care organizations, and even office-based surgery. The proposed
standards revisions that emanated from the Task Force’s deliberations
focused on seven issues:
•• The organization identifies its leaders and their shared and unique
accountabilities (this requirement recognizes that different
••
••
••
••
••
••
organizations might identify different individuals as their leaders, and
might assign accountabilities differently among those leaders).
The leaders are all aligned with the mission and goals related to the
quality and safety of care.
The leaders share the goal of meeting the needs of the population served
by the organization.
The leaders communicate well with each other and share information
to enable them all to collaborate in making evidence-based decisions.
The leaders are provided with the knowledge and skills that enable
them to function well as organizational leaders.
The leaders have a process to manage conflicts between leadership
groups in their decision making.
The leaders demonstrate mutual respect and civility with the goal of
building trust among themselves.
The “Leadership” Chapter
As the revised chapter was being developed, additional related issues
were identified. Further, when The Joint Commission focused on
the ingredients necessary for patient safety, its national advisory
group—the Sentinel Event Advisory Group, recently renamed Patient
Safety Advisory Group—recommended that two additional issues be
addressed in the leadership standards:
•• Creation and nurture of a culture of safety
•• Elimination of intimidating (“disruptive”) behavior that prevents open
communication among all staff
The advisors were unanimous in their opinion that the leaders of an
organization are the most powerful force in changing the organization’s
culture and in eliminating intimidating behavior. The leaders do this
by what they communicate to the organization’s physicians and staff,
by modeling desired behavior (“walking the talk”), and by establishing
policies that encourage, facilitate, and reward the desired changes in
attitudes and behavior throughout the organization.
Other non-substantive changes were made in the standards to clarify
language and eliminate redundant or non-essential standards.
The proposed “Leadership” chapter was then sent to the field twice
for comments, and based in part on the results of these field reviews,
other revisions were proposed. The revised “Leadership” chapter was
adopted in mid-2007, and published on The Joint Commission Web
site (www.jointcommission.org) and in The Joint Commission’s 2008
comprehensive accreditation manuals. The effective date of the new
requirements in the revised chapter was delayed until January 1, 2009
in order to give healthcare organizations and their leadership groups
ample time—18 months—to learn about the revised standards and to
determine how they would meet the new requirements.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
5
The revised “Leadership” chapter is structured in four sections, as
follows:
I. Leadership Structure
•Leadership structure
•Leadership responsibilities
•Governance accountabilities
•The chief executive responsibilities
•Medical staff accountabilities
•Leaders’ knowledge
II. Leadership Relationships
•Mission, vision, and goals
•Conflict of interest among leaders
•Communication among leaders
•Conflict management
III.Hospital Culture and System Performance
•Culture of safety and quality
•Using data and information
•Organization-wide planning
•Communication
•Change management and performance improvement
•Staffing
6
Leadership in healthcare organizations
IV.Leadership Operations
•Administration
•Ethical issues
•Meeting patient needs
•Managing safety and quality
The four sections of the “Leadership” chapter are reproduced in the
following four chapters of this white paper. Each of the next four
chapters addresses one section of the “Leadership” chapter, and each
includes every standard, its rationale (when not self-evident), and its
“element(s) of performance” (that are scored by the surveyor) in that
section. The standard, its rationale, and its element(s) of performance
(EPs) are in italics. [On occasion, there is a gap in the numbering of
the elements of performance. This occurs when an element of performance that is applicable to another type of accredited organization (for
example, ambulatory care, home care, long-term care) is not applicable
to hospitals.] Annotations about background, intent, or implementation—especially with regard to governance—are often added to assist
in the standard’s use as guidance for the hospital’s leaders.
Part two:
the joint commission leadership standards
Chapter 3. Leadership Structure
Standard LD.01.01.01
The hospital has a leadership structure.
Rationale
Every hospital has a leadership structure to support operations and the
provision of care. In many hospitals, this structure is formed by three leadership groups: the governing body, senior managers, and the organized
medical staff. In some hospitals there may be two leadership groups, and
in others only one. Individual leaders may participate in more than one
group.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital identifies those responsible for governance.
2. The governing body identifies those responsible for planning, management, and operational activities.
3. The governing body identifies those responsible for the provision of
care, treatment, and services.
As described in Chapters 1 and 2, a hospital has three leadership groups:
a governing body, a chief executive and other senior managers, and the
leaders of the medical staff. An individual may be a member of more
than one leadership group. For example:
•• A physician on the medical staff may also be a member of the governing body.
•• The chief executive may be a member of the governing body.
•• A chief medical officer may be a member of both the senior managers
and the medical staff.
•• The chief executive may be a voting member of the medical staff’s executive committee.
The assignment of individuals to one or more of these leadership
groups may differ from hospital to hospital, depending on the hospital’s
functions, size, complexity, and history. Regardless of how the assignments of individuals are made, those who are responsible for governance must be clearly identified. This standard and the following two
standards (Standard LD.01.02.01 and Standard LD.01.03.01) focus on
the specific responsibilities of the governing body for assigning responsibilities for the organization’s leadership functions—governance;
administration (that is, planning, management, and operational activities); and provision of care.
Two specific leadership groups are directly responsible for overseeing the activities of those who provide patient care: medical staff
leader(s) and the nurse executive. These two organizational leaders
are responsible for oversight of the quality of care, respectively, of the
physicians and other licensed independent practitioners, and of the
nursing staff. The role of the medical staff leaders has been discussed
in previous chapters and will be further addressed below, especially
with regard to Standard LD.01.05.01.
The “Nursing” chapter of standards in the 2009 Comprehensive
Accreditation Manual for Hospitals recognizes the critical role that the
nursing leader—who usually reports through the chief executive—
plays in the organization’s leadership. Nurses are at the front line of
patient care, and nurses should work as a team among themselves and
with other caregivers, including physicians and the patient’s family.
Standard NR.01.01.01 in the “Nursing” chapter sets the expectation that
the nurse executive not only directs the delivery of nursing care, but
also is a member of the hospital’s leadership, functioning at the senior
leadership level, and assuming “an active leadership role with the hospital’s governing body, senior leadership, medical staff, management, and
other clinical leaders in the hospital’s decision-making structures and
processes” (EP 3). While the nurse executive’s attendance at governing
Leadership in healthcare organizations
7
body meetings is at the option of the governing body, including the
nurse executive in leadership decisions around the quality and safety
of care and in established meetings of the senior clinical and managerial leaders is required.
Standard LD.01.02.01
The hospital identifies the responsibilities of its leaders.
Rationale
Many responsibilities may be shared by all leaders. Others are assigned by
the governing body to senior managers and the leaders of the organized
medical staff. Hospital performance depends on how well the leaders work
together to carry out these responsibilities.
Elements of Performance
1. Senior managers and leaders of the organized medical staff work with
the governing body to define their shared and unique responsibilities
and accountabilities.
2. The governing body establishes a process for making decisions
when a leadership group fails to fulfill its responsibilities and/or
accountabilities.
Because the governing body of different hospitals may assign responsibilities differently to each of the leadership groups—there is no “one
size fits all” set of assignments—each hospital must identify the responsibilities of the leaders in the hospital. While many of these responsibilities may be shared across leadership groups, other responsibilities are
assigned to a specific group. Although the governing body is ultimately
responsible for the quality and safety of care provided by the hospital,
many of the evaluations and decisions about the quality and safety of
care and how to improve them require collaboration—teamwork—
among the leadership groups. For example, the governing body grants
clinical privileges to individual physicians, but is dependent upon an
evaluation of the applicant by and recommendations from the medical
staff, based on criteria that the governing body has approved, to make
its decision. Likewise, the nurse executive is responsible for a staffing
plan for nurses that is an ingredient in the leader’s maintenance of
sufficient qualified staff to meet patients’ needs.
Assignment of leadership responsibilities, while ultimately part of
the governing body’s activities, should be done collaboratively with the
other hospital leaders. But what if there is conflict among the leadership groups about the assignments? Management of these conflicts is
discussed below (Standard LD.02.04.01).
Even more troublesome, however, would be the failure of a leadership group to fulfill its assigned unique or collaborative responsibilities. If the chief executive and senior managers fail to fulfill their
responsibilities, there is a course laid out in a contract, employment
agreement, or human resource policies that may be implemented. If
the leaders of the medical staff fail to fulfill the medical staff’s responsibility to oversee the quality and safety of care provided by physicians
(for example, by failing to make recommendations to the governing
body for or against renewal of a physician’s privileges), the governing
8
Leadership in healthcare organizations
body may have to step in and seek assistance for the medical staff functions from outside the hospital’s medical staff. Here is where teamwork
becomes important. Any member of a team may at some point fail to
fulfill a responsibility. In well-functioning teams, this is not the cause
for allegations and recriminations. Rather, the response is for other
team members to step in and help the faltering member, either themselves or by enlisting outside assistance. When the immediate problem
passes, the team then explores the causes of the problem and identifies
how a similar problem can be averted in the future and, if it were to
recur, how the team may respond even more effectively.
Standard LD.01.03.01
The governing body is ultimately accountable for the safety and quality of
care, treatment, and services.
Rationale
The governing body’s ultimate responsibility for safety and quality derives
from its legal responsibility and operational authority for hospital performance. In this context, the governing body provides for internal structures
and resources, including staff that supports safety and quality.
Elements of Performance
1. The governing body defines in writing its responsibilities.
2. The governing body provides for organization management and
planning.
3. The governing body approves the hospital’s written scope of services.
4. The governing body selects the chief executive.
5. The governing body provides for the resources needed to maintain safe,
quality care, treatment, and services.
6. The governing body works with the senior managers and leaders of the
organized medical staff to annually evaluate the hospital’s performance
in relation to its mission, vision, and goals.
7. The governing body provides a system for resolving conflicts among
individuals working in the hospital.
8. The governing body provides the organized medical staff with the
opportunity to participate in governance.
9. The governing body provides the organized medical staff with the
opportunity to be represented at governing body meetings (through
attendance and voice) by one or more of its members, as selected by
the organized medical staff.
10.Organized medical staff members are eligible for full membership in
the hospital’s governing body, unless legally prohibited.
This standard focuses on certain of the governing body’s unique
responsibilities. Some are self-evident or already discussed. The
governing body’s ultimate accountability for the safety and quality of
care is reflected in its approval of the hospital’s written scope of services
(EP 3), its selection of the chief executive (EP 4), and its provision of
needed resources (EP 5). The phrase “provides for” is used in EPs 2 and
5; this phrase was chosen to indicate that the governing body must itself
take responsibility for these issues, but may do so through assignment
to others, accompanied by oversight of the others’ performance.
EP 6 requires collaboration among all three leadership groups to
annually evaluate the hospital’s performance with regard to achieving
its mission, vision, and goals. As will be discussed in Chapter 4 of
this white paper, the three leadership groups are to collaborate to
create a mission, vision, and goals for the organization in order for all
three groups to have an investment in their achievement (Standard
LD.02.01.01).
Later (Standard LD.02.04.01), a method for managing conflict
between leadership groups is described. However, conflicts can, and do,
regularly occur between other individuals working in the hospital—
whether between clinicians in the same discipline or different disciplines, or between clinical and non-clinical staff, or between nonclinical staff. Any such conflicts can be destructive of the teamwork
that is necessary to achieve the goals of safe, high-quality care, financial sustainability, community service, and ethical behavior. For that
reason, the governing body should provide a system for resolving
these conflicts. The elements of such a system can be adapted from
the guidance provided in Standard LD.02.04.01.
EPs 8, 9, and 10 are intended to provide a framework for the leaders
of the medical staff to collaborate with the governing body in the leadership of the organization. EP 9 describes one element of the framework: the governing body provides an opportunity for the medical
staff to select one (or, at the governing body’s discretion, more than
one) member(s) of the medical staff to attend, with voice, all governing
body meetings in order to represent the medical staff’s views. This
medical staff member(s) need not be a member of the governing body;
however, in some hospitals, the medical staff will select one or more
individuals to be full, voting members of the governing body. In this
case, the governing body member(s) can also fulfill the role of medical
staff representative, although it should be clear that the individual’s
fiduciary duty in his or her voting (that is, in decision making) is as a
governing body member, not as a representative of the medical staff.
In Chapter 4, on leadership relations, Standard LD.02.02.01 addresses
conflicts of interest involving leaders. The governing body and the other
leadership groups are to develop a policy on such conflicts, which is
to be implemented when conflicts are identified. This policy would
apply not only to members of the governing body, but also to other
participants, such as this medical staff representative, in governing
body meetings.
Standard LD.01.04.01
A chief executive manages the hospital.
Elements of Performance
1. The chief executive provides for information and support systems.
2. The chief executive provides for recruitment and retention of staff.
3. The chief executive provides for physical and financial assets.
5. The chief executive identifies a nurse leader at the executive level who
participates in decision making.
11.When the chief executive is absent from the hospital, a qualified individual is designated to perform the duties of this position.
EP 1 requires the chief executive to provide for an information system(s)
in the hospital. With the increasing recognition of the role that information technologies can play in enabling safer, higher-quality, more
efficient care, the role of the chief executive in providing for information systems is increasingly important. Guidance for the functioning
of an effective information system can be found in the “Information
Management” chapter of the 2009 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual
for Hospitals. The governing body should educate itself on the enabling
role of information technology and support the chief executive’s efforts
to improve it.
However, information and other technologies can introduce new
risks to patient safety that are often not fully appreciated by those
who enthusiastically propose their installation. In accordance with
the governing body’s fiduciary responsibilities to “first, do no harm”
to the hospital’s patients, and to sustain the hospital’s financial health,
its members should question how these risks will be recognized and
mitigated.
EP 5 requires the chief executive to appoint a nurse executive. If the
hospital has decentralized services and/or geographically distinct sites,
each service or site may have its own nurse executive. However, in
these circumstances, the chief executive should appoint a single nurse
executive that works with the other senior leaders to oversee nursing
care throughout the hospital.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
9
The Introduction of Information Technology and Its Effect on Quality
(The following information on the risks that
can be posed by the introduction of information technology is adapted with permission
from “Safely implementing health information and converging technologies,” a Joint
Commission Sentinel Event Alert [Issue 42,
December 11, 2008], which is available at
www.jointcommission.org. The Sentinel
Event Alert includes additional details and
references.)
As health information technology and
“converging technologies”—the interrelationship between medical devices and
health information technology—are increasingly adopted by healthcare organizations,
users must be mindful of the safety risks
and preventable adverse events that these
implementations can create or perpetuate.
Technology-related adverse events can be
associated with all components of a comprehensive technology system and may involve
errors of either commission or omission.
These unintended adverse events typically
stem from human–machine interfaces or
organization/system design. The overall safety
and effectiveness of technology in healthcare ultimately depend on its human users,
ideally working in close concert with properly
designed and installed electronic systems.
Any form of technology may adversely affect
the quality and safety of care if it is designed
or implemented improperly. Not only must
the technology or device be designed to be
safe, it must also be operated safely within a
safe workflow process.
Inadequate technology planning can result
in poor product selection, a solution that
does not adapt well to the local clinical environment, or insufficient testing or training.
Inadequate planning can stem from failing
to include front-line clinicians in the planning process, to consider best practices, to
10
Leadership in healthcare organizations
consider the costs and resources needed for
ongoing maintenance, or to consult product
safety reviews or alerts or the previous experience of others. Implementing new clinical
information systems can expose latent problems or flawed processes in existing manual
systems; these problems should be identified
and resolved before implementing the new
system. An over-reliance on vendor advice,
without the oversight of an objective third
party (whether internal or external), also can
lead to problems.
Technology-related adverse events also
happen when healthcare providers and
leaders do not carefully consider the impact
technology can have on care processes, workflow, and safety. If not carefully planned and
integrated into workflow processes, new technology systems can create new work, complicate workflow, or slow the speed at which
clinicians carry out clinical documentation
and ordering processes. Learning to use new
technologies takes time and attention, sometimes placing strain on already demanding
schedules. The resulting change to clinical
practices and workflows can trigger uncertainty, resentment, or other emotions that can
affect the worker’s ability to carry out complex
physical and cognitive tasks. For example,
through the use of clinical, role-based authorizations, computerized physician order entry
(CPOE) systems also exert control over who
may do what and when.
While these constraints may lead to much
needed role standardizations that reduce
unnecessary clinical practice overlaps, they
may also redistribute work in unexpected
ways, causing confusion or frustration.
Physicians may resent the need to enter
orders into a computer. Nurses may insist
that the physician enter orders into the CPOE
system before an order will be carried out,
or nurses may take over the task on behalf
of the physician, increasing the potential for
communication-related errors. Physicians
have reported a sense of loss of professional
autonomy when CPOE systems prevent
them from ordering the types of tests or
medications they prefer, or force them to
comply with clinical guidelines they may
not embrace, or limit their narrative flexibility through structured rather than free-text
clinical documentation. Furthermore, clinicians may suffer “alert fatigue” from poorly
implemented CPOE systems that generate
excessive numbers of drug safety alerts. This
may cause clinicians to ignore even important alerts and to override them, potentially
impairing patient safety.
Patient safety is also impaired by the failure
to quickly fix technology when it becomes
counterproductive, especially when the
unsolved problems engender dangerous
workarounds. Additionally, safety is compromised when healthcare information systems
are not integrated or updated consistently.
Systems not properly integrated are prone to
data fragmentation because new data must be
entered into more than one system. Multiple
networks can result in poor interoperability
and increased costs. If data are not updated
in the various systems, records become
outdated, incomplete or inconsistent.
Suggested Actions
Below are suggested actions that the chief
executive, supported by the governing body,
can take to prevent patient harm related to the
implementation and use of health information
technology and converging technologies.
•• Examine workflow processes and procedures
for risks and inefficiencies and resolve these
issues prior to any technology implementation. Involving representatives of all disciplines—whether they are clinical, clerical or
technical—will help in the examination and
resolution of these issues.
•• Actively involve clinicians and staff who will
ultimately use or be affected by the technology, along with information technology staff
with strong clinical experience, in the planning, selection, design, reassessment, and
ongoing quality improvement of technology
solutions, including the system selection process. Involve a pharmacist in the planning
and implementation of any technology that
involves medication.
•• Assess the hospital’s technology needs
beforehand. Investigate how best to meet
those needs by requiring information technology staff to interact with users outside the
hospital to learn about real world capabilities of potential systems, including those of
various vendors; conduct field trips; and look
at integrated systems (to minimize reliance
on interfaces between various vendor systems).
•• During the introduction of new technology,
continuously monitor for problems and
address any issues as quickly as possible, particularly problems obscured by workarounds
or incomplete error reporting. During the
early post-live phase, consider implementing an “emergent issues” desk staffed with
project experts and champions to help rapidly resolve critical problems. Use interdisciplinary brainstorming methods for improving system quality and giving feedback to
vendors.
•• Establish a training program for all types of
clinicians and operations staff who will be
using the technology and provide frequent
refresher courses. Training should be appropriately designed for the local staff. Focus
training on how the technology will benefit
••
••
••
••
patients and staff (that is, less inefficiency,
fewer delays, and less repeated work). Do not
allow long delays between orientation and
system implementation.
Develop and communicate policies that
delineate staff authorized and responsible for
technology implementation, use, oversight,
and safety review.
Prior to taking a technology live, ensure that
all standardized order sets and guidelines are
developed, tested on paper, and approved by
the hospital’s pharmacy and therapeutics
committee (or its equivalent).
Develop a graduated system of safety alerts
in the new technology that helps clinicians
determine urgency and relevancy. Consider
skipped or rejected alerts as important insight
into clinical practice. Decide which alerts
need to be hard stops when using the technology and provide appropriate supporting
documentation.
Develop a system that mitigates potential
harmful CPOE drug orders by requiring
departmental or pharmacy review and sign
off on orders that are created outside the
usual parameters. Use the pharmacy and
therapeutics committee (or its equivalent)
for oversight and approval of all electronic
order sets and clinical decision support alerts.
Assure proper nomenclature and printed
label design and eliminate dangerous abbreviations and dose designations.
•• Provide an environment that protects staff
involved in data entry from undue distractions when using the technology.
•• After implementation, continually reassess
and enhance safety effectiveness and errordetection capability, including the use of
error tracking tools and the evaluation of
near-miss events. Maximize the potential of
the technology to provide safety benefits.
•• After implementation, continually monitor
and report errors and near misses or close
calls caused by technology through manual
or automated surveillance techniques. Pursue system errors and multiple causations
through the root-cause analysis process or
other forms of failure-mode analysis. Consider reporting significant issues to well recognized external reporting systems.
•• As more medical devices interface with the
information technology network, reevaluate
the applicability of security and confidentiality protocols. Reassess compliance with the
privacy and security requirements of the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on a periodic basis to
ensure that the addition of medical devices
to the hospital’s information technology network and the growing responsibilities of the
information technology department have
not introduced new security and privacy
risks.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
11
Standard LD.01.05.01
The hospital has an organized medical staff that is accountable to the
governing body.
Elements of Performance
1. There is a single organized medical staff unless criteria are met for an
exception to the single medical staff requirement.
2. The organized medical staff is self-governing.
3. The medical staff structure conforms to medical staff guiding
principles.
4. The governing body approves the structure of the organized medical
staff.
5. The organized medical staff oversees the quality of care, treatment, and
services provided by those individuals with clinical privileges.
6. The organized medical staff is accountable to the governing body.
This standard summarizes the role of the organized medical staff and
its relationship to the governing body, as described in Chapter 1 (of
this white paper) on leaders and systems. The “Medical Staff” chapter
in the 2009 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals contains
more details about the medical staff’s responsibilities, which include,
among others:
•• Oversight of care provided by physicians and other licensed independent practitioners in the hospital
•• A role in graduate medical education programs, when the hospital has
one (or more)
•• A leading role in performance improvement activities to improve the
quality of care and patient safety
•• Collection, verification, and evaluation of each licensed independent
practitioner’s credentials
•• Recommending to the governing body that an individual be appointed
to the medical staff and be granted clinical privileges, based on his/her
credentials
•• Participating in continuing education
The “Medical Staff” chapter requires that the governing body and the
medical staff agree on the rules for and parameters of their collaborative relationship, and that they document these rules and parameters in
medical staff bylaws and rules and regulations which both the medical
staff and the governing body agree to follow. The specific issues that
these documented agreements must, at a minimum, include are listed
in Standard MS.01.01.01 in the “Medical Staff” chapter.
EP 2 states that the medical staff is “self-governing,” and EP 6 says
that it is “accountable to the governing body.” Self-governance means
that the medical staff:
•• Initiates, develops, and approves medical staff bylaws and rules and
regulations
•• Approves or disapproves amendments to the medical staff bylaws and
rules and regulations
12
Leadership in healthcare organizations
•• Selects and removes medical staff officers
•• Determines the mechanism for establishing and enforcing criteria and
standards for medical staff membership
•• Determines the mechanism for establishing and enforcing criteria for
delegating oversight responsibilities to practitioners with independent
privileges
•• Determines the mechanism for establishing and maintaining patient
care standards and credentialing and delineation of clinical privileges
•• Engages in performance improvement activities
For the performance of each of these responsibilities, the medical
staff is accountable to the governing body. In some hospitals, the
medical staff may engage members of the governing body or senior
administrators in these activities—teamwork, again—although the
decisions lie with the medical staff members, and final approval lies
with the governing body.
EP 3 states that the medical staff should be structured in conformance
with “medical staff guiding principles.” These guiding principles are:
•• Designated members of the organized medical staff who have independent privileges provide oversight of care provided by practitioners
with privileges. (Note: A “practitioner with privileges” is, for all practical purposes, equivalent to a “licensed independent practitioner” who
provides care in the hospital.)
•• The organized medical staff is responsible for structuring itself to provide a uniform standard of quality patient care, treatment, and services.
•• The organized medical staff is accountable to the governing body.
•• Applicants for privileges need not necessarily be members of the medical staff.
Standard LD.01.07.01
The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized medical
staff have the knowledge needed for their roles in the hospital, or they seek
guidance to fulfill their roles.
Elements of Performance
1. The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized
medical staff work together to identify the skills required of individual
leaders.
2. Individual members of the governing body, senior managers, and leaders
of the organized medical staff are oriented to all of the following:
• The hospital’s mission and vision
• The hospital’s safety and quality goals
• The hospital’s structure and the decision-making process
• The development of the budget as well as the interpretation of the
hospital’s financial statements
• The population(s) served by the hospital and any issues related to
that population(s)
• The individual and interdependent responsibilities and accountabilities of the governing body, senior managers, and leaders of organized
medical staff as they relate to supporting the mission of the hospital
and to providing safe and quality care
• Applicable law and regulation
3. The governing body provides leaders with access to information and
training in areas where they need additional skills or expertise.
The rationale for this standard is self-evident. Members of the three
leadership groups should have the knowledge needed to fulfill their
own responsibilities, but also the knowledge needed to effectively
collaborate in fulfilling shared responsibilities. Governing body
members sometimes complain that they have not received an adequate
orientation to what they need to know to fulfill their responsibilities.
Although the chief executive and other senior managers may have
much of the knowledge needed to fulfill their responsibilities, they
may not have sufficient clinical background to understand the clinical
issues raised by the medical staff leaders. And often the medical staff
leaders do not have the basic knowledge that would enable them to
effectively collaborate in business (for example, budgetary, staffing)
decision making. One of the characteristics of high-performing
teams is that team members understand enough about other team
members’ contributions to be able to step in to help when another
team member falters; this understanding comes in part through the
members’ orientation to the team’s shared responsibilities and other
member’s contributions.
The governing body is responsible to provide access for itself and the
other leadership groups to information and training that will facilitate
the leaders’ collaborative work.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
13
14
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Chapter 4. Leadership Relationships
Standard LD.02.01.01
The mission, vision, and goals of the hospital support the safety and quality
of care, treatment, and services.
Rationale
The primary responsibility of leaders is to provide for the safety and quality
of care, treatment, and services. The purpose of the hospital’s mission, vision,
and goals is to define how the hospital will achieve safety and quality. The
leaders are more likely to be aligned with the mission, vision, and goals
when they create them together. The common purpose of the hospital is
most likely achieved when it is understood by all who work in or are served
by the hospital.
Elements of Performance
1. The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized
medical staff work together to create the hospital’s mission, vision,
and goals.
2. The hospital’s mission, vision, and goals guide the actions of leaders.
3. Leaders communicate the mission, vision, and goals to staff and the
population(s) the hospital serves.
This chapter on leadership relationships addresses issues such as
communication among the leaders, management of conflict among
the leaders, and conflict of interest with respect to each leader’s roles
and responsibilities. These issues, however, are meaningful within
the organization only if the leadership groups have a shared understanding of what they want to achieve and why, and how they want
to achieve it. These are the questions that are answered and codified
by the development of the organization’s mission, vision, and goals.
The greater the alignment among the leadership groups with respect
to the hospital’s mission, vision, and goals, the more likely they can
effectively function as a team to achieve those goals. And alignment
is more likely to result when the mission, vision, and goals are developed collaboratively.
However, in a hospital, especially one with “voluntary” rather than
employed medical staff members, not all goals may be shared. For
example, if the physicians on the medical staff all have clinical privileges
and provide care at two hospitals in the community, they may not share
a goal with the chief executive and the governing body of one of those
hospitals to become the dominant community provider. Despite the
fact that complete alignment would facilitate teamwork and success in
achieving the goals, for many hospitals complete alignment, especially
of strategies and goals, may be beyond reach.
That is why this standard and rationale focus on the relationship of
the mission, vision, and goals to the safety and quality of care, rather
than to any other potential goals of the hospital. The more engaged all
the leadership groups are in creating the mission, vision, and goals, the
more likely they will be aligned with respect to the shared goals of safe
and high-quality care and strategies of how to achieve them.
EPs 2 and 3 address a common failing in all types of organizations:
after thoughtful development of a mission, vision, and goals, they are
placed on the shelf, guiding neither the activities of the leaders nor the
work of staff throughout the organization. Unless they guide activities
throughout the organization, the development of the mission, vision,
and goals is a wasted effort. For this reason, the hospital’s mission,
vision, and goals are to be communicated to staff and used to guide
the actions of the leaders.
But what is the rationale for communicating the mission, vision, and
goals to the population the hospital serves? If the hospital is not only
to provide safe, high-quality care, but also to be financially sustainable,
serve its community, and behave ethically, it needs to be transparent to
those it serves and solicit their input and feedback. The most successful
hospitals engage in “teamwork” not only internally, but also with the
individuals and communities they serve.
Standard LD.02.02.01
The governing body, senior managers and leaders of the organized medical
staff address any conflict of interest involving leaders that affect or could
affect the safety or quality of care, treatment, and services.
Rationale
Conflicts of interest can occur in many circumstances and may involve
professional or business relationships. Leaders create policies that provide
for the oversight and control of these situations. Together, leaders address
Leadership in healthcare organizations
15
actual and potential conflicts of interest that could interfere with the hospital’s responsibility to the community it serves.
Elements of Performance
1. The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized
medical staff work together to define, in writing, conflicts of interest
involving leaders that could affect safety and quality of care, treatment, and services.
2. The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized
medical staff work together to develop a written policy that defines how
conflicts of interest involving leaders will be addressed.
3. Conflicts of interest involving leaders are disclosed as defined by the
hospital.
Every governing body experiences conflicts of interest among its
members, and such conflicts can arise even more readily between
leadership groups. A conflict of interest for a governing body member
exists when a (usually) personal financial interest could impair the
individual’s objectivity with regard to decisions related to his/her
fiduciary obligation to the hospital or its patients. Conflicts of interest
within him- or herself, or within family members are often unrecognized by an individual. For this reason, organizations increasingly
provide individuals with a list of specific types of conflicts for the
individual to review, with the expectation that the individual is more
likely to recognize if he or she has one of the listed conflicts than to
spontaneously identify the conflict if the inquiry is open-ended. The
response to conflicts of interest (for example, from disclosure to
recusal to resignation) should be identified in the conflict-of-interest
policy. The policy should address which conflicts of interest should
be disclosed, to whom they should be disclosed, and by what method
they should be disclosed.
A duality of interest can arise if the governing body member has
fiduciary obligations to more than one party (for example, to patients
and to the hospital). Each of these obligations could lead to different
actions and decisions. Both the hospital as an organization and the
hospital’s patients each trust a member of the governing body to act,
respectively, in the hospital’s and the patient’s best interest, not in
another party’s (or the governing body member’s) interest. A duality
of interest, especially when it arises from fiduciary obligations to
multiple parties, can create a classical ethical dilemma or uncertainty.
It can be, in fact, an ethical challenge for the individual, and should
be resolved as such. It is part of the hard and sometimes uncomfortable work of being a governing body member. While decisions are
often driven by values, the decisions should be as fully informed as
possible by evidence.1
1 Further guidance on conflicts of interest for governing body members is
available in Conflicts of Interest and the Non-Profit Board: Guidelines for
Effective Practice, a Governance Institute white paper (2008).
16
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Standard LD.02.03.01
The governing body, senior managers, and leaders of the organized
medical staff regularly communicate with each other on issues of safety
and quality.
Rationale
Leaders, who provide for safety and quality, must communicate with each
other on matters affecting the hospital and those it serves. The safety and
quality of care, treatment, and services depend on open communication.
Civility among leaders fosters such communication. Ideally, this will result
in trust and mutual respect among those who work in the hospital.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders discuss issues that affect the hospital and the population(s) it
serves, including the following:
• Performance improvement activities
• Reported safety and quality issues
• Proposed solutions and their impact on the hospital’s resources
• Reports on key quality measures and safety indicators
• Safety and quality issues specific to the population(s) served
• Input from the population(s) served
2. The hospital establishes time frames for the discussion of issues that
affect the hospital and the population(s) it serves.
It is certainly desirable that the governing body, the chief executive and
other senior managers, and the leaders of the medical staff communicate regularly on all the issues facing the hospital and on its full range
of goals, including financial sustainability, community service, and
ethical behavior. However, The Joint Commission, and therefore its
standards, focuses on the quality and safety of care. EP 1 lists topics
related to quality and safety that should be included in communications and discussions on a regular basis (EP 2). But perhaps the most
important message here is not in the standard itself or in its EPs. The
most important message is in the rationale: “Civility among leaders
fosters [open] communication. Ideally, this will result in trust and
mutual respect among those who work in the hospital.” Working in
hospitals, as rewarding as it is, is also challenging and often draining.
Yet, at all levels, from the leaders to the bedside clinicians and other
caretakers, it is teamwork. Often the teamwork is highly effective,
other times it is not. But it is always teamwork. Studies by psychologists and sociologists have established what we already recognized—
that civility, trust, and mutual respect are much more likely to result
in high-performing teams than are incivility, distrust, and disrespect,
whether on the battlefield, on the baseball field, or in the hospital. If
there is a situation in which “actions speak louder than words,” this
is it. Not only should the governing body and the other leadership
groups establish an expectation of civil and open communication
throughout the organization, they should consistently exhibit it in
their own behavior with each other and with staff.
Standard LD.02.04.01
The hospital manages conflict between leadership groups to protect the
quality and safety of care.
Elements of Performance
1. Senior managers and leaders of the organized medical staff work with
the governing body to develop an ongoing process for managing conflict
among leadership groups.
2. The governing body approves the process for managing conflict among
leadership groups.
3. Individuals who help the hospital implement the process are skilled in
conflict management.
4. The conflict-management process includes the following:
• Meeting with the involved parties as early as possible to identify
the conflict
• Gathering information regarding the conflict
• Working with the parties to manage and, when possible, resolve
the conflict
• Protecting the safety and quality of care
5. The hospital implements the process when a conflict arises that, if not
managed, could adversely affect patient safety or quality of care.
Conflict among the leadership groups occurs commonly—even in
well-functioning hospitals—and, in fact, can be a productive stimulus
for positive change. However, conflicts among leadership groups with
regard to accountabilities, policies, practices, and procedures that are
not managed effectively have the potential to threaten the safety and
quality of patient care. Therefore, hospitals need to manage these
conflicts so that the safety and quality of care are protected. A conflictmanagement process is designed to meet this need.
EPs 1 and 2 require that all three leadership groups—the governing
body, the chief executive and senior managers, and leaders of the
medical staff—together develop a conflict-management process, which
must be approved by the governing body. Implementation of this
process allows hospitals to identify conflict quickly, and to manage it
before it escalates to compromise the safety and quality of care.
To facilitate the management of conflict, hospital leaders should
identify an individual with conflict-management skills who can help
the hospital implement its conflict-management process. This skilled
individual within the hospital can often assist the hospital to manage a
conflict without needing to seek assistance from outside the hospital.
This individual can also help the hospital to more easily manage, or even
avoid, future conflicts. The skilled individual can be from the hospital’s
own leadership groups, can be an individual from other areas of the
hospital (for example, human resources management or administration), or can be from outside the hospital. Conflict-management skills
can be acquired through various means including experience, education, and training. If the hospital chooses to train its own leaders, it
may offer external training sessions to key individuals or it may bring
in experts to teach conflict-management skills.
Conflict can be successfully managed without being “resolved.” The
goal of this standard is not that all conflicts be resolved, but rather
that hospital leaders develop and implement a conflict-management
process so that conflict does not adversely affect patient safety or
quality of care.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
17
18
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Chapter 5. Hospital Culture and System Performance2
A hospital’s culture3 reflects the beliefs, attitudes, and priorities of the
staff, including clinicians, throughout the organization. It influences
the effectiveness of the hospital’s performance including its ability to
achieve the goals of high-quality, safe care, financial sustainability,
community service, and ethical behavior. Although there may be a
dominant culture, in many larger hospitals diverse cultures exist that
may or may not share all of the same values. In fact, diverse cultures
can exist even in smaller hospitals. Despite these diverse cultures, the
hospital’s performance with respect to its goals can still be effective if
the cultures are compatible and aligned with respect to their overall
goals. Successful hospitals will work to develop a culture of safety and
quality that pervades all of its diverse cultures.
In a culture of safety and quality, every individual is focused on
maintaining excellence in performance. Each accepts the safety and
quality of patient care as a personal responsibility and everyone works
together to minimize any harm that might result from unsafe or poor
care. Leaders create this culture by demonstrating in their communication and in their individual and collective behavior a commitment
to safety and quality, and by taking actions to achieve the desired
culture. In a culture of safety and quality, one finds teamwork, open
discussions of concerns about safety and quality, and encouragement
of and reward for internal and external reporting of safety and quality
issues. The focus of attention is on the performance of systems and
processes instead of the individual, although reckless behavior and a
blatant disregard for safety are not tolerated. The hospital is committed
to ongoing learning and has the flexibility to accommodate changes
in technology, science, and the environment.
To create a culture of safety and quality, the leaders must sustain
a focus on safety and quality. Leaders plan, support, and implement
key systems critical to this effort. Five key systems influence the
2
2 This introduction to the standards on hospital culture and system performance is adapted with permission from the “Leadership” chapter in The
Joint Commission’s 2009 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.
3 A helpful introduction to the characteristics and impact of a culture of
safety can be found in the chapter entitled “Safety Culture,” in Managing
Maintenance Error: A Practical Guide, by J. Reason and A. Hobbs
(Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003, pp. 145–158).
hospital’s effective performance with respect to improving the safety
and quality of patient care—and sustaining these improvements. The
systems are:
•• Using data
•• Planning
•• Communicating
•• Changing performance
•• Staffing
These five key systems serve as pillars that are based on a foundation set by leadership, and in turn support the many hospital-wide
processes (such as medication management) that are important to
the safety and quality of patient care. Culture permeates this entire
structure—the base of leadership; the pillars of using data, planning,
communicating, changing performance, and staffing; and the superstructure of patient care activities.
The five key systems—the pillars—are interrelated and must function well together. The integration of these systems throughout the
hospital facilitates the effective performance of the hospital as a whole.
Therefore, the hospital’s leaders must develop a vision and goals for
the performance of each of these systems and must evaluate each
system’s performance. They then must use the results of these evaluations to develop strategies for future improvements that will better
achieve the hospital’s overall goals of safe, high-quality care, financial
sustainability, community service, and ethical behavior.
Performance of many aspects of these five systems may be directly
observable. But for some aspects, a hospital’s performance is demonstrated through its performance with respect to other important
hospital-wide systems, such as those for information management,
infection control, and medication management. For other aspects of
the five pillars, the hospital’s performance is evident in its patient care
processes. While the leaders cannot prevent (or be accountable for)
every breach in the performance of the five key processes, they are
responsible for hospital-wide patterns of poor performance. (In fact, the
federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in its program to
certify hospitals as eligible to receive payments from the Medicare fund,
will automatically cite non-compliance with its requirements for the
Leadership in healthcare organizations
19
hospital’s leaders if non-compliance with individual standards in the
federal Conditions of Participation for Medicare is widespread enough
that the hospital is found out of compliance with one of the Conditions
themselves. In this case, a hospital-wide pattern of poor performance
is, in itself, considered evidence of ineffective leadership.)
The effective performance of the five systems enables the hospital to
create an organization-wide culture in which safety and quality are a
given. The hospital can support this culture through a proactive, nonpunitive culture that is monitored and sustained by related reporting
systems and improvement initiatives.
Many of the concepts embodied in the five systems are consistent
with and complementary to existing approaches to improvement such
as the Baldrige National Quality Award criteria, the Toyota Lean
Production model, Six Sigma, and ISO 9000.
Standard LD.03.01.01
Leaders create and maintain a culture of safety and quality throughout
the hospital.
Rationale
Safety and quality thrive in an environment that supports teamwork and
respect for other people, regardless of their position in the organization.
Leaders demonstrate their commitment to quality and set expectations
for those who work in the organization. Leaders evaluate the culture on a
regular basis. Leaders encourage teamwork and create structures, processes,
and programs that allow this positive culture to flourish. Disruptive
behavior that intimidates others and affects morale or staff turnover can
be harmful to patient care. Leaders must address disruptive behavior of
individuals working at all levels of the organization, including management, clinical and administrative staff, licensed independent practitioners,
and governing body members.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders regularly evaluate the culture of safety and quality using valid
and reliable tools.
2. Leaders prioritize and implement changes identified by the evaluation.
3. Leaders provide opportunities for all individuals who work in the
hospital to participate in safety and quality initiatives.
4. The hospital has a code of conduct that defines acceptable, disruptive,
and inappropriate behaviors.
5. Leaders create and implement a process for managing disruptive and
inappropriate behaviors.
6. Leaders provide education that focuses on safety and quality for all
individuals.
7. Leaders establish a team approach among all staff at all levels.
8. All individuals who work in the hospital, including staff and licensed
independent practitioners, are able to openly discuss issues of safety
and quality.
9. Literature and advisories relevant to patient safety are available to all
individuals who work in the hospital.
10.Leaders define how members of the population(s) served can help identify and manage issues of safety and quality within the hospital.
20
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Board Self-Assessment
Does The Joint Commission require a board self-evaluation/
assessment of its own performance?
Whereas the 2009 standards contain no specific implicit or
explicit requirement for self-assessment of the leadership,
including the governing body, processes overall—such an
assessment would be a normal part of what an organization
would do in order to improve its results.
The Leadership Standards include two elements of
performance that require leaders, including the governing
body, to evaluate how well they both plan and support
planning, and how well they manage change and process
improvement. They are:
1. LD.03.03.01, EP 7: Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of
planning activities.
2. LD.03.05.01. EP 7: Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of
processes for the management of change and performance
improvement.
A second group of four requirements specify that the leaders,
including the governing body, evaluate how effectively they
fulfill their responsibilities for creating and maintaining a
culture of safety, for fostering the use of data, for creating and
supporting processes for communication, and for designing
and staffing work processes to promote safety and quality.
These four requirements focus on the results rather than the
processes of the leaders’ activities:
1. LD.03.01.01 EP 1: Leaders regularly evaluate the culture of
safety and quality using valid and reliable tools.
2. LD.03.02.01 EP 7: Leaders evaluate how effectively data and
information are used throughout the hospital.
3. LD.03.04.01 EP 7: Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of
communication methods.
4. LD.03.06.01 EP 6: Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of those
who work in the hospital to promote safety and quality.
The Quality of Leadership
Many experts believe that the quality of leadership is a significant factor in the quality and
safety performance of an organization. (The
following information on the role of leadership in creating safety within a healthcare
organization is adapted with permission from
a draft of a Joint Commission Sentinel Event
Alert on leadership [Issue 43, March 2009],
which is available at www.jointcommision.
org. The Sentinel Event Alert includes additional details and references.)
When an unexpected (that is, not the result
of the normal course of the patient’s illness)
adverse event harms a patient—called by The
Joint Commission a “sentinel event”—in a
healthcare organization, ineffective organizational leadership is often one of the underlying (or “root”) causes. Research shows
that the quality of leadership can make a
significant difference in the safety of patient
care. For example, ineffective leadership was
named as a root cause in half of the sentinel
events reported to The Joint Commission
in 2006. As one hospital chief executive
put it: “Leadership must believe that all
sentinel events involve a failure in the systems
and processes which led to the event. [The
leaders] are accountable for those systems
and processes that provide the framework
for the clinical environment our staff works
within. My first priority is to understand
how we improve our clinical environment to
reduce the possibility of doing harm.”
Healthcare organizations have not developed the “zero-defect” safety interventions
seen in other high-risk industries such as
commercial passenger aviation, nuclear
energy, and manufacturing. But healthcare
is moving in that direction. The public is
demanding more information about the
quality and safety performance of their local
healthcare organizations and providers. As
performance information becomes more
detailed, sophisticated, and prevalent, the
need to drive toward “zero” errors will
become a priority. Towards that goal, The
Joint Commission has been a major contributor to the National Quality Forum Safe
Practices for Better Healthcare. These practices hardwire the expectations of leaders
from governance, senior managers, and the
medical staff down through the organization
to frontline managers. “Leading for safety”
occurs at all levels of the organization, but
the governing body, the chief executive, and
the leaders of the medical staff are especially
influential in improving the safety and quality
of patient care.
Progressive healthcare leaders have begun
to apply the lessons learned in healthcare
and in other industries to reduce the risk
inherent in complex medical environments.
Leaders must have the courage, values, integrity, compassion, and emotional resilience to
consistently make safety a priority throughout
the organization.
However, patients and hospital staff may
perceive a considerable difference between
the operational values of a hospital and
those espoused by its leaders. It is common
for hospital staff to believe that financial
considerations consistently trump concerns
about the quality and safety of patient care
(for example, when leaders do not support
the reporting of errors out of fear of litigation). Factors commonly named as causes
of errors—such as poor communication,
inadequate training, and lack of procedural
compliance—often can be traced back to
the failure of leadership to institute systemic
solutions to ensure safety.
Improving the clinical environment can
begin with simple but strong steps taken by
leaders, such as developing a focus on safety
and teamwork among all staff, and recognizing
and encouraging organization leaders who
listen, who ask the difficult questions, who
have the ability to conduct patient-centered
conversations, and who are committed to the
personal growth, collaboration, and openness
necessary to achieve organizational transformation in regard to safety.
Safety design requires a conscious effort,
and involves everyone in the organization,
including board members. Safety should
be understood as a property of the hospital
system, rather than only the result of each
individual’s actions. And because there is an
appreciation of the nature of systems, the
risks inherent in complex systems are recognized. For example, in complex systems—of
which a hospital is certainly one—causes
and effects are not linear; that is, a very small
change in one part of the system can result
in a very big effect elsewhere—an effect that
can be disastrous for safety and quality of
care. These effects are often unanticipated; a
change, whether planned or not, in a complex
system will invariably result in unintended,
unexpected consequences. Consequently,
there must be a pervasive sensitivity to operations and a constant vigilance for unanticipated changes.4
A safe clinical environment is also strengthened when work processes—such as daily
check-ins and safety huddles—allow leaders
and staff to discuss and learn about safety
issues together. Healthcare leaders can
develop a business case that makes safety
improvement financially beneficial, and can
merge clinical, operational, and financial silos
into one manageable organization committed
to safety by developing and recruiting leaders
who understand the importance of all three
areas.
In order to create an organization in which
safe care is reliably provided, the hospital’s governing body and other leaders can
collaboratively:
•• Make the organization’s overall safety performance a key accountability in the evaluations of the performance of the chief executive and other leaders.
4 A helpful introduction to the characteristics
of high reliability in complex systems can
be found in the chapters, “Managing the
Unexpected: What Business Can Learn
from High-Reliability Organizations,” and
“Expectations and Mindfulness,” in Managing
the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an
Age of Uncertainty, by K. E. Weick and K. M.
Sutcliffe (San Francisco, CA: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc., 2nd Edition, 2007, pp. 1–42).
Leadership in healthcare organizations
21
•• Institute an organization-wide policy of
transparency that sheds light on all adverse
events and patient safety issues within the
organization, thereby creating a just environment where it is safe for everyone to talk
about real and potential medical errors and
to support each other in the effort to be errorfree without fear of reprisal; caregivers who
are involved in adverse events should receive
timely, just, and compassionate support.
•• Regularly monitor and analyze adverse
events and close calls quantitatively, require
root-cause analyses for all adverse events,
search for patterns in the root causes, and
have findings and recommendations communicated to the governing body, chief executive, the medical staff, and hospital staff.
•• Hold a series of honest, open discussions
with risk management, performance
improvement, and physician, nursing, and
pharmacy leaders to develop an accurate
view of the safety risks facing patients and
staff in the organization and within the community; these discussions should focus on
openness, learning, and improvement, not
on blame or retribution.
•• Prioritize safety risks and address them
according to a timeline, with the highest priority items getting immediate attention;
make a visible commitment of time and
money to improve the systems and processes
necessary for an error-free environment.
•• Establish partnerships with physicians practicing within the hospital and align their
incentives to safety improvement and use of
evidence-based medicine.
•• Add a human element and a sense of urgency
to safety improvement by having patients
communicate their experiences and perceptions to governing body members, executive
leadership, medical staff, and other key leadership groups, and solicit patient input into
safety design.
•• When planning and implementing safety
improvements, defer to the expertise of frontline staff members who understand the risks
to patients and how processes really work.
•• As leaders, accept a degree of personal
accountability for adverse events that occur
in the organization and for identifying defects
or failures (through root-cause analyses) that
can lead to errors.
•• Regularly measure leadership’s commitment to safety using safety climate surveys
and upward appraisal techniques (in which
staff review or appraise their managers and
leaders).
•• Communicate to staff when their error
reports and improvement work have resulted
in improved safety.
•• During personnel evaluations, ask managers
about the safety issues they have encountered, the actions that were taken, and the
results of those actions.
Behaviors that Undermine a Culture of Safety
(The following information on managing
disruptive and inappropriate behavior is
adapted with permission from “Behaviors
that undermine a culture of safety,” a Joint
Commission Sentinel Event Alert [Issue 40,
July 9, 2008], which is available at www.
jointcommission.org. The Sentinel Event Alert
includes additional details and references.)
EPs 4 and 5 in Standard LD.03.01.01 (see
page 20) require that the hospital have a “code
of conduct” that defines acceptable, disruptive, and inappropriate behaviors, and has a
process that manages disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.
22
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Why this focus on interpersonal behavior?
Because intimidating and disruptive behaviors can foster medical errors, contribute to
poor patient satisfaction and preventable
adverse outcomes, increase the cost of care,
and cause qualified clinicians and managers
to seek new positions in more professional
environments. Of these potential outcomes
from intimidating and disruptive behavior,
the most serious are the medical errors and
resulting harm to patients. Safety and quality
of patient care are dependent on teamwork,
communication, and a collaborative work
environment.
To continuously improve quality and to
promote a culture of safety, healthcare organizations must address the problem of behaviors that threaten the performance of the
healthcare team at the levels of patient care
teams, management teams, and the leadership
team. The focus is on avoiding behavior that
prevents the team from working effectively,
not on inhibiting advocacy for quality and
safety in patient care. At times, a “disruptive”
behavior is desirable, when the disruption is
of a process that is going wrong.
For example, the nurse who says, “This
isn’t Roberta Brown,” during the time-out
prior to surgery is deliberately “disrupting”
a process that was about to result in surgery
on the wrong patient—in fact, the nurse is
enhancing team function and patient safety.
The physician leader who proposes increased
nurse staffing for existing services, rather than
opening a new service, is “disruptive” of the
planning process, but not intimidating others
in the process and is advocating for patient
safety. These are positive “disruptions” that
should be encouraged, not discouraged. The
goal of these EPs is to eliminate intimidating behavior, not to prevent advocacy for
patient care safety and quality. Nevertheless,
even disagreements over and advocacy for
improvements in patient care should be
conducted civilly and with respect, not in an
intimidating manner, in order to maintain the
team’s function.
Intimidating and undesirable disruptive
behaviors include overt actions such as verbal
outbursts and physical threats, as well as
passive activities such as refusing to perform
assigned tasks or quietly exhibiting uncooperative attitudes during routine activities.
Intimidating and disruptive behaviors are
often manifested by healthcare professionals
in positions of power. Such behaviors sometimes are blatant, such as throwing objects.
Much more often, the behaviors are less
overt—but just as powerful—in intimidating
others, such as refusing to answer questions
or return phone calls or pages, condescending
language or voice intonation, and impatience
with questions. Both overt and passive behaviors undermine team effectiveness and can
compromise the safety of patients. All such
intimidating and disruptive behaviors are
unprofessional and should not be tolerated.
Intimidating and disruptive behaviors
in healthcare organizations are not rare. A
survey on intimidation conducted by the
Institute for Safe Medication Practices found
that 40 percent of clinicians have kept quiet
or remained passive during patient care
events rather than question a known intimidator. While most formal research centers on
intimidating and disruptive behaviors among
physicians and nurses, there is evidence that
these behaviors occur among other healthcare
professionals such as pharmacists, therapists,
and support staff, as well as among administrators. Several surveys have found that most
care providers have experienced or witnessed
intimidating or disruptive behaviors. These
behaviors are not limited to one gender and
they occur during interactions within and
across disciplines. Nor are such behaviors
confined to the small number of individuals
who habitually exhibit them; in fact, it is
likely that these persistent intimidators are
not involved in the large majority of episodes
of intimidating or disruptive behaviors. It is
important that organizations recognize that
these behaviors threaten patient safety, irrespective of who engages in them.
In addition to EPs 4 and 5 for this
standard in the “Leadership” chapter,
standards in the “Medical Staff”
chapter require that the six general
competencies adopted by the American
Board of Medical Specialties and the
Accreditation Council for Graduate
Medical Education be addressed in
the credentialing process, including
interpersonal and communication skills
and professionalism, all of which are
incompatible with intimidating and
disruptive behavior.
The majority of healthcare professionals
enter their chosen discipline for altruistic
reasons and have a strong interest in caring
for and helping other human beings. The
preponderance of these individuals carry
out their duties in a manner consistent with
this idealism and maintain high levels of
professionalism. The presence of intimidating
and disruptive behaviors in an organization,
however, erodes professional behavior and
creates an unhealthy or even hostile work
environment—one that is readily recognized
by patients and their families. Nevertheless,
there is a history of tolerance and indifference to intimidating and disruptive behaviors in healthcare. Organizations that fail to
address unprofessional behavior through
formal systems are indirectly promoting it.
Healthcare organizations that ignore these
behaviors also expose themselves to litigation
from both employees and patients. Studies
link patient complaints about unprofessional,
disruptive behaviors and malpractice risk.
When staff, patients, and families observe
intimidating behavior, they form a surveillance system that can assist the hospital’s
leaders identify risks.
Intimidating and disruptive behaviors can
stem from individual factors. The inherent
stresses of dealing with high stakes, high
emotion situations can contribute to occasional intimidating or disruptive behavior,
particularly in the presence of factors such
as fatigue. But individual care providers who
exhibit characteristics such as self-centeredness, immaturity, or defensiveness can be
even more prone to unprofessional behavior
and can lack interpersonal, coping, or conflictmanagement skills.
Intimidating and disruptive behaviors can
also stem from systemic factors that only
the organization’s leaders can effectively
address. Many of the systemic factors stem
from the unique healthcare cultural environment, which is marked by pressures that
include increased productivity demands, cost
containment requirements, embedded hierarchies, and fear of or stress from litigation.
These pressures can be further exacerbated
by changes to or differences in the authority,
autonomy, empowerment, and roles or values
of professionals on the healthcare team, as
well as by the continual flux of daily changes
in shifts, rotations, and interdepartmental
support staff. This dynamic creates challenges
for inter-professional communication and
for the development of trust among team
members.
For a number of reasons, intimidating
and disruptive behaviors often go unreported and, therefore, unaddressed. Fear of
retaliation and the stigma associated with
“blowing the whistle” on a colleague, as
well as a general reluctance to confront an
intimidator all contribute to underreporting
of intimidating and disruptive behavior.
Additionally, staff within institutions often
perceive that powerful, revenue-generating
physicians are “let off the hook” for inappropriate behavior due to the perceived consequences of confronting them. The American
College of Physician Executives conducted a
physician survey and found that 38.9 percent
of the respondents agreed that “physicians in
my organization who generate high amounts
of revenue are treated more leniently when it
comes to behavior problems than those who
bring in less revenue.”
Leadership in healthcare organizations
23
EP 5 requires that the leaders create and
implement a process for managing disruptive
and inappropriate behaviors, one element of
which is a code of conduct (EP 4). The reference to “leaders” means that the process and
code of conduct should be developed collaboratively, not imposed by one leadership
group on another.
In addition to development and implementation of the code of conduct required by EPs
4 and 5, other actions that leaders can take to
reduce intimidating behavior include:
•• Educate all team members—both physicians
and non-physician staff—on appropriate
professional behavior defined by the organization’s code of conduct; the code and education should emphasize respect; include
training in basic business etiquette (particularly phone skills) and people skills.
•• Hold all team members accountable for modeling desirable behaviors, and enforce the
code consistently and equitably among all
staff, regardless of seniority or clinical discipline, in a positive fashion through reinforcement as well as punishment.
•• Develop and implement policies and procedures/processes appropriate for the organization that address:
a. “Zero tolerance” for intimidating and/
or disruptive behaviors, especially the
most egregious instances of disruptive behavior such as assault and other
criminal acts; incorporate the zero tolerance policy into medical staff bylaws
and employment agreements as well as
administrative policies.
b. Medical staff policies regarding intimidating and/or disruptive behaviors of
physicians within a healthcare organization that are complementary and
supportive of the policies that are
24
Leadership in healthcare organizations
present in the organization for nonphysician staff.
c. Reducing fear of intimidation or retribution and protecting those who report
or cooperate in the investigation of
intimidating, disruptive, and other
unprofessional behavior; non-retaliation clauses should be included in all
policy statements that address disruptive behaviors.
d. Responding to patients and/or their
families who are involved in or witness
intimidating and disruptive behaviors;
the response should include hearing
and empathizing with their concerns,
thanking them for sharing those
concerns, and apologizing.
e. How and when to begin disciplinary
actions (such as suspension, termination,
loss of clinical privileges, and reports to
professional licensure bodies).
•• Develop an organizational process for addressing intimidating and disruptive behaviors that
solicits and integrates substantial input from
an inter-professional team that includes representation of medical and nursing staff,
administrators, and other employees.
•• Provide skills-based training and coaching
for all leaders and managers in relationshipbuilding and collaborative practice including skills for giving feedback on unprofessional behavior and conflict resolution; cultural assessment tools can also be used to
measure whether attitudes change over
time.
•• Develop and implement a system for assessing staff perceptions of the seriousness and
extent of instances of unprofessional behaviors and the risk of harm to patients.
•• Develop and implement a reporting/surveillance system (possibly anonymous) for
detecting unprofessional behavior; include
ombudsman services and patient advocates,
both of which provide important feedback
from patients and families who may experience intimidating or disruptive behavior
from health professionals; monitor system
effectiveness through regular surveys, focus
groups, peer and team member evaluations,
or other methods; have multiple and specific
strategies to learn whether intimidating or
disruptive behaviors exist or recur, such as
through direct inquiries at routine intervals
with staff, supervisors, and peers.
•• Support surveillance with tiered, non-confrontational interventional strategies, starting with informal “cup of coffee” conversations directly addressing the problem and
moving toward detailed action plans and progressive discipline, if patterns persist; these
interventions should initially be nonadversarial in nature, with the focus on building trust, placing accountability on and rehabilitating the offending individual, and protecting patient safety; make use of mediators
and conflict coaches when professional dispute resolution skills are needed.
•• Conduct all interventions within the context
of an organizational commitment to the
health and well being of all staff, with adequate resources to support individuals whose
behavior is caused or influenced by physical
or mental health pathologies.
•• Encourage inter-professional dialogues
across a variety of forums as a proactive way
of addressing ongoing conflicts, overcoming
them, and moving forward through improved
collaboration and communication.
•• Document all attempts to address intimidating and disruptive behaviors.
Standard LD.03.02.01
The hospital uses data and information to guide decisions and to understand
variation in the performance of processes supporting safety and quality.
Rationale
Data help hospitals make the right decisions. When decisions are supported
by data, organizations are more likely to move in directions that help them
achieve their goals. Successful organizations measure and analyze their
performance. When data are analyzed and turned into information, this
process helps hospitals see patterns and trends and understand the reasons
for their performance. Many types of data are used to evaluate performance,
including data on outcomes of care, performance on safety and quality
initiatives, patient satisfaction, process variation, and staff perceptions.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders set expectations for using data and information to improve
the safety and quality of care, treatment, and services.
2. Leaders are able to describe how data and information are used to
create a culture of safety and quality.
3. The hospital uses processes to support systematic data and information use.
4. Leaders provide the resources needed for data and information use,
including staff, equipment, and information systems.
5. The hospital uses data and information in decision making that
supports the safety and quality of care, treatment, and services.
6. The hospital uses data and information to identify and respond to
internal and external changes in the environment.
7. Leaders evaluate how effectively data and information are used
throughout the hospital.
The leaders of the organization are continuously faced with the need
to make decisions that can profoundly affect the hospital’s ability to
achieve its goals: safe, high-quality patient care; financial sustainability;
community service; and ethical behavior. To make the best decisions,
the leaders require data that enable them to understand the challenges
they are addressing, design and evaluate potential solutions, and
measure the impact of their decisions. A commitment by the leadership groups to make data-driven decisions will permeate through the
organization. The “Performance Improvement” chapter in the 2009
Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals provides specific
guidance on the collection, assessment, and use of data to continuously improve the safety and quality of care.
Standard LD.03.03.01
Leaders use hospital-wide planning to establish structures and processes
that focus on safety and quality.
Rationale
Planning is essential to the following:
• The achievement of short- and long-term goals
• Meeting the challenge of external changes
• The design of services and work processes
• The creation of communication channels
• The improvement of performance
• The introduction of innovation
Planning includes contributions from the populations served, from
those who work for the hospital, and from other interested groups or
individuals.
Elements of Performance
1. Planning activities focus on improving patient safety and healthcare
quality.
2. Leaders can describe how planning supports a culture of safety and
quality.
3. Planning is systematic, and it involves designated individuals and
information sources.
4. Leaders provide the resources needed to support the safety and quality
of care, treatment, and services.
5. Safety and quality planning is hospital-wide.
6. Planning activities adapt to changes in the environment.
7. Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of planning activities.
Standard LD.03.04.01
The hospital communicates information related to safety and quality
to those who need it, including staff, licensed independent practitioners,
patients, families, and external interested parties.
Rationale
Effective communication is essential among individuals and groups within
the hospital, and between the hospital and external parties. Poor communication often contributes to adverse events and can compromise safety and
quality of care, treatment, and services. Effective communication is timely,
accurate, and usable by the audience.
Elements of Performance
1. Communication processes foster the safety of the patient and the
quality of care.
2. Leaders are able to describe how communication supports a culture
of safety and quality.
3. Communication is designed to meet the needs of internal and external
users.
4. Leaders provide the resources required for communication, based on the
needs of patients, the community, physicians, staff, and management.
5. Communication supports safety and quality throughout the
hospital.
6. When changes in the environment occur, the hospital communicates
those changes effectively.
7. Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of communication methods.
At the core of healthcare is information management—information
about the patient; about medical science; about therapeutic interventions; about actions to be taken by patients, their families, nurses, pharmacists, and others on the treatment team. Much of this information
Leadership in healthcare organizations
25
management is based upon communication among the participants.
In an increasingly multilingual, multicultural society, three barriers
to communication between caregivers and patients and their families have been identified: limited English proficiency, cultural differences, and low health literacy. Failure to address these barriers leads
to more frequent adverse events and, also, more serious adverse events.
The leaders of the hospital should attend not only to communication among hospital staff, but also to providing the resources (such
as staff education and interpreter services) that enable the treatment
team to overcome the barriers to communication with patients and
their families.
Standard LD.03.05.01
Leaders implement changes in existing processes to improve the performance of the hospital.
Rationale
Change is inevitable, and agile organizations are able to manage change
and rapidly execute new plans. The ability of leaders to manage change
is necessary for performance improvement, for successful innovation, and
to meet environmental challenges. The hospital integrates change into all
relevant processes so that its effectiveness can be sustained, assessed, and
measured.
Elements of Performance
1. Structures for managing change and performance improvements exist
that foster the safety of the patient and the quality of care, treatment,
and services.
2. Leaders are able to describe how the hospital’s approach to performance improvement and its capacity for change support a culture of
safety and quality.
3. The hospital has a systematic approach to change and performance
improvement.
4. Leaders provide the resources required for performance improvement
and change management, including sufficient staff, access to information, and training.
5. The management of change and performance improvement supports
both safety and quality throughout the hospital.
6. The hospital’s internal structures can adapt to changes in the
environment.
7. Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of processes for the management of
change and performance improvement.
26
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Although the “Performance Improvement” chapter in the 2009
Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals contains extensive
guidance for the organization’s continuous improvement of the safety
and quality of care, the leaders collectively have a critical role to play in
setting overall priorities for improvement, in providing the resources
that enable improvement efforts to succeed, and in evaluating the
results of the improvement. Although improvement activities may
address a myriad of goals (such as improved financial performances),
the leaders must keep the safety and quality of patient care at the center
of attention. The leader’s goals for and investment in improvement
will be translated into the goals and commitment for improvement
throughout the organization.
Standard LD.03.06.01
Those who work in the hospital are focused on improving safety and
quality.
Rationale
The safety and quality of care, treatment, and services are highly dependent
on the people in an organization. The mission, scope, and complexity of
services define the design of work processes and the skills and number of
individuals needed. In a successful hospital, work processes and the environment make safety and quality paramount. This standard, therefore,
applies to all those who work in or for the hospital, including staff and
licensed independent practitioners.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders design work processes to focus individuals on safety and
quality issues.
2. Leaders are able to describe how those who work in the hospital support
a culture of safety and quality.
3. Leaders provide for a sufficient number and mix of individuals to
support safe, quality care, treatment, and services.
4. Those who work in the hospital are competent to complete their assigned
responsibilities.
5. Those who work in the hospital adapt to changes in the environment.
6. Leaders evaluate the effectiveness of those who work in the hospital to
promote safety and quality.
Chapter 6. Leadership Operations
Standard LD.04.01.01
The hospital complies with law and regulation.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital is licensed, certified, or has a permit, in accordance with
law and regulation, to provide the care, treatment, or services for which
the hospital is seeking accreditation from The Joint Commission.
2. The hospital provides care, treatment, and services in accordance with
licensure requirements, laws, and rules and regulations.
3. Leaders act on or comply with reports or recommendations from
external authorized agencies, such as accreditation, certification, or
regulatory bodies.
Standard LD.04.01.03
The hospital develops an annual operating budget and, when needed, a
long-term capital expenditure plan.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders solicit comments from those who work in the hospital when
developing the operational and capital budgets.
3. The operating budget reflects the hospital’s goals and objectives.
4. The governing body approves an annual operating budget and, when
needed, a long-term capital expenditure plan.
5. The leaders monitor the implementation of the budget and long-term
capital expenditure plan.
6. An independent public accountant conducts an annual audit of the
hospital’s finances, unless otherwise provided by law.
staff and instill in them a sense of ownership of their work processes. Leaders
may delegate work to qualified staff, but the leaders are responsible for the
care, treatment, and services provided in their areas.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders of the program, service, site, or department oversee
operations.
2. Programs, services, sites, or departments providing patient care are
directed by one or more qualified professionals or by a qualified licensed
independent practitioner with clinical privileges.
3. The hospital defines in writing the responsibility of those with administrative and clinical direction of its programs, services, sites, or
departments.
4. Staff members are held accountable for their responsibilities.
5. Leaders provide for the coordination of care, treatment, and
services among the hospital’s different programs, services, sites, or
departments.
Standard LD.04.01.05
The hospital effectively manages its programs, services, sites, or
departments.
While the “Leadership” chapter is primarily focused on the three organization-wide leadership groups—the governing body, the chief executive and senior managers, and the leaders of the medical staff—these
groups are collectively responsible for the management of its programs,
services, sites, and departments throughout the organization. The
“leaders” referred to in this standard are those who manage these clinical and non-clinical units within the organization. Chapter 1 of this
white paper discussed the importance of understanding the hospital
as a system rather than as a collection of units (or, as they are often
referred to, “silos”). EP 5 emphasizes the role of leaders throughout the
organization in setting expectations for and facilitating the integration
of the organization’s many units into a system that achieves the goals
of safe, high-quality care through coordination of patient care.
Rationale
Leaders at the program, service, site, or department level create a culture
that enables the hospital to fulfill its mission and meet its goals. They support
Standard LD.04.01.07
The hospital has policies and procedures that guide and support patient
care, treatment, and services.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
27
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders review and approve policies and procedures that guide and
support patient care, treatment, and services.
2. The hospital manages the implementation of policies and procedures.
Standard LD.04.01.11
The hospital makes space and equipment available as needed for the provision of care, treatment, and services.
Rationale
The resources allocated to services provided by the organization have a
direct effect on patient outcomes. Leaders should place highest priority on
high-risk or problem prone processes that can affect patient safety. Examples
include infection control, medication management, use of anesthesia, and
others defined by the hospital.
Elements of Performance
2. The arrangement and allocation of space supports safe, efficient, and
effective care, treatment, and services.
3. The interior and exterior space provided for care, treatment, and services
meets the needs of patients.
4. The grounds, equipment, and special activity areas are safe, maintained, and supervised.
5. The leaders provide for equipment, supplies, and other resources.
Sometimes forgotten in the provision of space and equipment are
the special needs of specific patient populations. The governing body
may ask, for example:
•• Whether equipment sized for infants and children is readily available
when needed
•• Whether communication assistance devices are available for individuals with impaired hearing, impaired sight, or limited English proficiency
•• Whether space and equipment meet the needs of individuals with limited mobility (such a individuals in wheelchairs)
The chapter on “Environment of Care” in the 2009 Comprehensive
Accreditation Manual for Hospitals sets expectations for how the
hospital should meet many of these patient needs.
Standard LD.04.02.01
The leaders address any conflict of interest involving licensed independent
practitioners and/or staff that affects or has the potential to affect the safety
or quality of care, treatment, and services.
Elements of Performance
1. The leaders define conflict of interest involving licensed independent
practitioners or staff. This definition is in writing.
2. The leaders develop a written policy that defines how the hospital will
address conflicts of interest involving licensed independent practitioners and/or staff.
28
Leadership in healthcare organizations
3. Existing or potential conflicts of interest involving licensed independent
practitioners and/or staff, as defined by the hospital, are disclosed.
4. The hospital reviews its relationships with other care providers,
educational institutions, manufacturers, and payers to determine
whether conflicts of interest exist and whether they are within law
and regulation.
5. Policies, procedures, and information about the relationship between
care, treatment, and services and financial incentives are available upon
request to all patients, and those individuals who work in the hospital,
including staff and licensed independent practitioners.
Standard LD.02.02.01 (discussed in Chapter 4; see page 15) focuses
upon conflicts of interest among the members of the three leadership groups—the governing body, the chief executive and senior
managers, and the leaders of the medical staff. However, this standard (LD.04.02.01) focuses on conflicts of interest among others in
the organization including physicians and other licensed independent
practitioners. Of special importance are those conflicts of interest
that could affect decisions about a patient’s care, such as the potential conflict experienced by a physician who invented and patented
a diagnostic or treatment device, receives royalties from its use, and
prescribes its use for his or her own patients. While the device may be
the best available, and the physician the most experienced in its use,
at the least, the conflict-of-interest should be disclosed to the patient,
who can take it into consideration in consenting to treatment. Under
other circumstances, the conflict-of-interest policy may, for example,
forbid ownership in a company that would create a potential conflict.
EP 4 recognizes that the hospital itself, as an organization, may have
conflicts of interest that should be addressed by the policy.
Standard LD.04.02.03
Ethical principles guide the hospital’s business practices.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital has a process that allows staff, patients, and families to
address ethical issues or issues prone to conflict.
2. The hospital uses its process to address ethical issues or issues prone
to conflict.
3. The hospital follows ethical practices for marketing and billing.
4. Marketing materials accurately represent the hospital and address the
care, treatment, and services that the hospital provides either directly
or by contractual arrangement.
5. Care, treatment, and services are provided based on patient needs,
regardless of compensation or financial risk-sharing with those
who work in the hospital, including staff and licensed independent
practitioners.
6. When leaders excuse staff members from a job responsibility, care,
treatment, and services are not affected in a negative way.
7. Patients receive information about charges for which they will be
responsible.
Healthcare is value-laden for patients, families, practitioners, and
provider organizations. Consequently, it is common for the values of
individuals or groups to come into conflict. It is not so much that the
values themselves conflict, but that the available choices of actions
(or behaviors) are unable to fully achieve both values at once. For
example, activities designed to achieve universal access to care may
not also achieve the goal of financial sustainability for the hospital.
Resolving this “conflict”—or at least “uncertainty”—is an ethical challenge, not just a business or a clinical decision. Healthcare workers
and administrators face these uncertainties daily, and often could
benefit from assistance that can help them resolve the uncertainties.
The “process” that provides this assistance is, most commonly, an
ethics committee, but can also be an ethics consultant or consultation service. Whatever the process, it needs to be readily accessible
to staff, physicians and other licensed independent practitioners, and
managers. The governing body and its members should also have access
to the process—they often face decisions that, at their core, involve
competition among values. As stated in the discussion of Standard
LD.02.02.01 in Chapter 4 of this white paper, while governing body
decisions are often driven by values, the decision should be as fully
informed as possible by evidence.
Standard LD.04.02.05
When internal or external review results in the denial of care, treatment,
and services or payment, the hospital makes decisions regarding the ongoing
provision of care, treatment, and services and discharge, or transfer based
on the assessed needs of the patient.
2. The hospital provides essential services, including the following:
• Diagnostic radiology
• Dietetic services
• Emergency services
• Nuclear medicine
• Nursing care
• Pathology and clinical laboratory services
• Pharmaceutical services
• Physical rehabilitation
• Respiratory care
• Social work
Note: Nuclear medicine, physical rehabilitation, and respiratory care are
not required for hospitals that provide only psychiatric and addiction
treatment services.
3. The hospital provides at least one of the following acute care clinical
services:
• Child, adolescent, or adult psychiatry
• Medicine
• Obstetrics and gynecology
• Pediatrics
• Treatment for addictions
• Surgery
Note: When the hospital provides surgical or obstetric services, anesthesia
services are also available.
Rationale
The hospital is professionally and ethically responsible for providing care,
treatment, and services within its capability and law and regulation. At
times, such care, treatment, and services are denied because of payment
limitations. In these situations, the decision to continue providing care,
treatment, and services or to discharge the patient is based solely on the
patient’s identified needs.
EPs 2 and 3 define the type of acute care inpatient organizations that
can be accredited by The Joint Commission as a hospital under the
2009 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.
Elements of Performance
1. Decisions regarding the provision of ongoing care, treatment, and services,
discharge, or transfer are based on the assessed needs of the patient,
regardless of the recommendations of any internal or external review.
2. The safety and quality of care, treatment, and services do not depend
on the patient’s ability to pay.
Rationale
Comparable standards of care means that the organization can provide
the services that patients need within established time frames and that
those providing care, treatment, and services have the required competence.
Organizations may provide different services to patients with similar needs as
long as the patient’s outcome is not affected. For example, some patients may
receive equipment with enhanced features because of insurance situations. This
does not ordinarily lead to different outcomes. Different settings, processes, or
payment sources should not result in different standards of care.
Standard LD.04.03.01
The hospital provides services that meet patient needs.
Elements of Performance
1. The needs of the population(s) served guide decisions about which
services will be provided directly or through referral, consultation,
contractual arrangements, or other agreements.
Standard LD.04.03.07
Patients with comparable needs receive the same standard of care, treatment, and services throughout the hospital.
Elements of Performance
1. Variances in staff, setting, or payment source do not affect outcomes of
care, treatment, and services in a negative way.
2. Care, treatment, and services are consistent with the hospital’s mission,
vision, and goals.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
29
Standard LD.04.03.09
Care, treatment, and services provided through contractual agreement are
provided safely and effectively.
Elements of Performance
1. Clinical leaders and medical staff have an opportunity to provide
advice about the sources of clinical services to be provided through
contractual agreement.
2. The hospital describes in writing the nature and scope of services
provided through contractual agreements.
3. Designated leaders approve contractual agreements.
4. Leaders monitor contracted services by establishing expectations for
the performance of the contracted services.
Note: When the hospital contracts with another accredited organization
for patient care, treatment, and services to be provided off-site, it can do
the following:
• Verify that all licensed independent practitioners who will be
providing patient care, treatment, and services have appropriate
privileges by obtaining, for example, a copy of the list of privileges.
• Specify in the written agreement that the contracted organization will
ensure that all contracted services provided by licensed independent
practitioners will be within the scope of their privileges.
5. Leaders monitor contracted services by communicating the expectations in writing to the provider of the contracted services.
6. Leaders monitor contracted services by evaluating these services in
relation to the hospital’s expectations.
7. The leaders take steps to improve contracted services that do not meet
expectations.
8. When contractual agreements are renegotiated or terminated, the
hospital maintains the continuity of patient care.
9. When using the services of licensed independent practitioners from a
Joint Commission-accredited ambulatory care organization through a
telemedical link for interpretive services, the hospital accepts the credentialing and privileging decisions of The Joint Commission-accredited
ambulatory provider only after confirming that those decisions are made
using the process described in the Medical Staff chapter.
10.Reference and contract laboratory services meet the federal regulations
for clinical laboratories and maintain evidence of the same.
The only contractual agreements subject to the requirements in
Standard LD.04.03.09 are those for the provision of care, treatment,
and services provided to the hospital’s patients. This standard does
not apply to contracted services that are not directly related to patient
care. In addition, contracts for consultation or referrals are not subject
to the requirements in Standard LD.04.03.09. However, regardless of
whether a contract is subject to this standard, the actual performance
of any contracted service is evaluated using other relevant hospital
30
Leadership in healthcare organizations
accreditation standards appropriate to the nature of the contracted
service.
The expectations that leaders set for the performance of contracted
services should reflect basic principles of risk reduction, safety, staff
competence, and performance improvement. Ideas for expectations
can also come from the EPs found in specific standards applicable to
the contracted service. Although leaders have the same responsibility
for oversight of contracted services outside the hospital’s expertise as
they do for contracted services within the hospital’s expertise, it is
more difficult to determine how to monitor such services. In these
cases, information from relevant professional associations can provide
guidance for setting expectations.
The EPs do not prescribe the methods for evaluating contracted
services; leaders are expected to select the best methods for their
hospital to oversee the quality and safety of services provided through
contractual agreement. Some examples of sources of information
that may be used for evaluating contracted services include the
following:
•• Review of information about the contractor’s Joint Commission accreditation or certification status
•• Direct observation of the provision of care
•• Audit of documentation, including medical records
•• Review of incident reports
•• Review of periodic reports submitted by the individual or hospital providing services under contractual agreement
•• Collection of data that address the efficacy of the contracted service
•• Review of performance reports based on indicators required in the
contractual agreement
•• Input from staff and patients
•• Review of patient satisfaction studies
•• Review of results of risk management activities
In the event that contracted services do not meet expectations, leaders
take steps to improve care, treatment, and services. In some cases,
it may be best to work with the contractor to make improvements,
whereas in other cases it may be best to renegotiate or terminate the
contractual relationship. When the leaders anticipate the renegotiation
or termination of a contractual agreement, planning needs to occur so
that the continuity of care, treatment, and services is not disrupted.
In most cases, each licensed independent practitioner providing
services through a contractual agreement must be credentialed and
privileged by the hospital using their services following the process
described in the “Medical Staff” chapter. However, there are three
special circumstances when this is not required:
•• Direct care through a telemedical link: The “Medical Staff” chapter
describes several options for credentialing and privileging licensed
independent practitioners who are responsible for the care, treatment,
and services of the patient through a telemedical link.
•• Interpretive services through a telemedical link: EP 9 in this standard
describes the circumstances under which a hospital can accept the
credentialing and privileging decisions of a Joint Commission-accredited ambulatory care organization for licensed independent practitioners providing interpretive services through a telemedical link.
•• Off-site services provided by a Joint Commission-accredited contractor.
Standard LD.04.03.11
The hospital manages the flow of patients throughout the hospital.
Rationale
Managing the flow of patients throughout their care is essential to prevent
overcrowding, which can undermine the timeliness of care and, ultimately,
patient safety. Effective management of system-wide processes that support
patient flow (such as admitting, assessment and treatment, patient transfer,
and discharge) can minimize delays in the delivery of care. Monitoring
and improving these processes are useful strategies to reduce patient flow
problems.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital has processes that support the flow of patients throughout
the hospital.
2. The hospital plans for the care of admitted patients who are in temporary bed locations, such as the post-anesthesia care unit or the emergency department.
3. The hospital plans for care to patients placed in overflow locations.
4. Criteria guide decisions to initiate ambulance diversion.
5. The hospital measures the following components of the patient flow
process:
• The available supply of patient beds
• The efficiency of areas where patients receive care, treatment, and
services
• The safety of areas where patients receive care, treatment and
services
• Access to support services
6. Measurement results are provided to those individuals who manage
patient flow processes.
7. Measurement results regarding patient flow processes are reported
to leaders.
8. Measurement results guide improvement of patient flow processes.
The history of this standard is instructive. Hospital emergency departments were in crisis: they were overcrowded with patients who had
been admitted to the hospital, but were waiting for an inpatient bed
to become available. While there were some steps the emergency
department staff could undertake to reduce the overcrowding (such as
improving the triage system), the experts and practitioners consulted
by The Joint Commission quickly concluded that the most significant
root causes of the problem were outside the emergency department’s
control. For example, the rising number of uninsured led more people
to use emergency departments as their primary care providers, and
inefficiencies in patient flow (for example, the discharge processes)
in the rest of the hospital reduced the availability of inpatient beds for
patients needing admission.
Recognizing that patient flow was within the hospital’s control,
Standard LD.04.03.11 was adopted. But addressing patient flow is
not within the control of a single department or discipline within
the hospital. The solution requires the coordinated work of multiple
components of the hospital system including, for example, the emergency department, physicians, nurses, patient transport, housekeeping,
information technology, and admissions. It is the need to solve this
problem at the system level that led to the assignment of responsibility to the collaborative leadership of the organization. In any given
hospital, maximizing the effectiveness of the patient flow processes in
the system may even require a decrease in the efficiency of a component
in the system (such as housekeeping). The success of the patient flow
process is measured by the results of this integrated process, not by
the isolated performance of each component in the process.
Standard LD.04.04.01
Leaders establish priorities for performance improvement.
Elements of Performance
1. Leaders set priorities for performance improvement activities and
patient health outcomes.
2. Leaders give priority to high-volume, high-risk, or problem-prone
processes for performance improvement activities.
3. Leaders reprioritize performance improvement activities in response
to changes in the internal or external environment.
4. Performance improvement occurs hospital-wide.
Continuous improvement throughout the organization is one of the
characteristics of high-performing organizations. They are never satisfied with the current level of performance, and search for opportunities to improve. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on one’s
point of view—the list of identified opportunities to improve invariably outstrips the resources available to design, test, and implement
improvements. Priorities must therefore be set for the investment of the
improvement resources, based on their level of risk and their impact—
especially on the safety and quality of patient care. This priority-setting
for focus and allocation of resources is ultimately the responsibility of
the leaders of the organization, and the wisdom and success of priority
setting for improvement must be overseen by the governing body.
Standard LD.04.04.03
New or modified services or processes are well designed.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital’s design of new or modified services or processes incorporates the needs of patients, staff, and others.
2. The hospital’s design of new or modified services or processes incorporates the results of performance improvement activities.
3. The hospital’s design of new or modified services or processes incorporates information about potential risks to patients.
4. The hospital’s design of new or modified services or processes incorporates evidence-based information in the decision-making process.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
31
5. The hospital’s design of new or modified services or processes incorporates information about sentinel events.
6. The hospital tests and analyzes its design of new or modified services
or processes to determine whether the proposed design or modification
is an improvement.
7. The leaders involve staff and patients in the design of new or modified
services or processes.
Standard LD.04.04.05
The hospital has an organization-wide, integrated patient safety
program.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital implements a hospital-wide patient safety program.
2. One or more qualified individuals or an interdisciplinary group
manages the safety program.
3. The scope of the safety program includes the full range of safety
issues, from potential or no harm errors (sometimes referred to as
near misses, close calls, or good catches) to hazardous conditions and
sentinel events.
4. All departments, programs, and services within the hospital participate
in the safety program.
5. As part of the safety program, the hospital creates procedures for
responding to system or process failures.
6. The hospital provides and encourages the use of systems for blamefree internal reporting of a system or process failure, or the results of a
proactive risk assessment.
7. The hospital defines sentinel event and communicates this definition
throughout the organization.
8. The hospital conducts thorough and credible root-cause analyses in
response to sentinel events as described in the “Sentinel Events” chapter
of this manual.
9. The hospital makes support systems available for staff members who
have been involved in an adverse or sentinel event.
10.At least every 18 months, the hospital selects one high-risk process and
conducts a proactive risk assessment.
11.To improve safety, the hospital analyzes and uses information
about system or process failures and the results of proactive risk
assessments.
12.The hospital disseminates lessons learned from root cause analyses,
system or process failures, and the results of proactive risk assessments
to all staff members who provide services for the specific situation.
13.At least once a year, the hospital provides governance with written
reports on the following:
• All system or process failures
• The number and type of sentinel events
• Whether the patients and the families were informed of the event
• All actions taken to improve safety, both proactively and in response
to actual occurrences
14.The hospital encourages external reporting of significant adverse events,
including voluntary reporting programs in addition to mandatory
programs.
The Safety Program
Standard LD.04.04.05 describes a safety
program that integrates safety priorities into
all processes, functions, and services within
the hospital including patient care, support,
and contract services. (This introduction to
the standard on safety programs is adapted
with permission from the “Leadership”
chapter in the 2009 Comprehensive
Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.) It
addresses the responsibility of leaders to
establish a hospital-wide safety program;
to proactively explore potential system failures; to analyze and take action on problems
that have occurred; and to encourage the
reporting of adverse events and near misses,
both internally and externally. The hospital’s
32
Leadership in healthcare organizations
culture of safety and quality (addressed by
Standard LD.03.01.01 in Chapter 5 of this
white paper; see page 20) supports the
safety program.
This standard does not require the creation
of a new structure or office in the hospital.
But it emphasizes the need to integrate
patient-safety activities, both existing and
newly created, with the hospital’s leadership, which is ultimately responsible for this
integration.
EPs 6 through 9 relate to how the
hospital reacts when a serious adverse
event occurs—called a “sentinel event”
by The Joint Commission. The traditional
response was to ask who made the error,
and then, at best, require “corrective” action
and, at worst, fire the person. Now that it
is recognized that “to err is human,” the
desired response is changing. Rather than
punishing the “who” (unless of course the
error was deliberate despite recognition
of the risk), the question has become what
processes, or lack thereof, in the hospital
caused or enabled the human error. These
processes are considered the root causes of
the adverse event, and become the focus
of improvement efforts, rather than simply
exhorting the individual who made the (all
too human) error to be more competent
and committed.
Unfortunately, the tradition of identifying
the “who,” and then “naming, blaming, and
shaming” the individual has historically
resulted in physicians and staff being fearful
to report errors that led to harm or even close
calls in which an error was made but harm
avoided. Without these reports, the organization has a limited ability to identify root
causes and redesign its processes to prevent
or to halt human error before a patient
is harmed. Overcoming this fear requires
not only hospital policies that encourage
reporting, but also demonstration by all three
leadership groups—the governing body, the
chief executive and senior managers, and the
leaders of the medical staff—through both
their words and their behaviors that reporting
is valued, expected, and rewarded rather
than punished.
When conscientious physicians or other
healthcare professionals make errors that
harm patients, they invariably feel badly, not
only for the patients but also about themselves. After all, healthcare professionals were
trained to believe that harm is their fault
because human errors could be avoided if
only they were competent and committed
enough. So when they make errors, the organization’s response should include support—
quite in contrast to the traditional response
of punishment.
By undertaking a proactive risk assessment
(EP 10), a hospital can correct process problems and reduce the likelihood of experiencing adverse events. A hospital can use
a proactive risk assessment to evaluate
processes to see how they could fail, to
understand the consequences of such a
failure, and to identify parts of the process
that need improvement. The term “process”
applies broadly to clinical procedures, such
as surgery, as well as to processes that are
integral to patient care, such as medication
administration.
The processes that have the most potential for affecting patient safety should be
the primary focus for a risk assessment.
Proactive risk assessments are also useful
for analyzing new processes before they are
implemented. These processes need to be
designed with a focus on quality and reliability to achieve desired outcomes and
protect patients. A hospital’s choice of a
process to assess may be based in part on
information published periodically by The
Joint Commission about frequently occurring sentinel events and processes that pose
high risk to patients.
A proactive risk assessment increases
understanding within the organization about
the complexities of process design and
management and what could happen if the
process fails. If an adverse event occurs, the
organization may be able to use the information gained from the prior risk assessment to
minimize the consequences of the event—
and avoid simply reacting to them.
Although there are several methods that
could be used to conduct a proactive risk
assessment, the following steps make up one
approach:
1. Describe the chosen process (for example,
through the use of a flowchart).
2. Identify ways in which the process could
break down or fail to perform its desired
function, which are often referred to as
“failure modes.”
3. Identify the possible effects that a breakdown or failure of the process could have
on patients and the seriousness of the
possible effects.
4. Prioritize the potential process breakdowns or failures.
5. Determine why the prioritized breakdowns or failures could occur, which
may involve performing a hypothetical
root-cause analysis.
6. Redesign the process and/or underlying systems to minimize the risk of the
effects on patients.
7. Test and implement the redesigned
process.
8. Monitor the effectiveness of the redesigned process.
EP 13 is specific to the governing body.
[Emphasis added.] The leadership standards
and this white paper emphasize the role of
the governing body in creating a culture of
safety and quality, in holding the medical
staff and the chief executive and other senior
managers accountable for fulfilling their
unique and collaborative responsibilities,
and in providing the resources needed to
provide safe, high-quality care. But for the
governing body to fulfill this role, it needs
information. EP 13 identifies some of that
information, but should not be seen as all
the information the governing body should
receive. It is a minimum, and the governing
body, in fulfilling its fiduciary obligations to
both patients and the hospital, should regularly ask questions about the organization’s
experiences with quality and safety, how the
organization’s performance compares with
that of other organizations, how the organization is using new information to improve,
and what the results of its improvement
efforts have been.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
33
Standard LD.04.04.07
The hospital considers clinical practice guidelines when designing or
improving processes.
Rationale
Clinical practice guidelines can improve the quality, utilization, and
value of healthcare services. Clinical practice guidelines help practitioners and patients make decisions about preventing, diagnosing, treating,
and managing selected conditions. These guidelines can also be used in
designing clinical processes or in checking the design of existing processes.
The hospital identifies criteria that guide the selection and implementation
of clinical practice guidelines so that they are consistent with its mission
and priorities. Sources of clinical practice guidelines include the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Guideline Clearinghouse,
and professional organizations.
Elements of Performance
1. The hospital considers using clinical practice guidelines when designing
or improving processes.
2. When clinical practice guidelines will be used in the design or modification of processes, the hospital identifies criteria to guide their selection
and implementation.
3. The hospital manages and evaluates the implementation of the guidelines used in the design or modification of processes.
4. The leaders of the hospital review and approve the clinical practice
guidelines.
34
Leadership in healthcare organizations
5. The organized medical staff reviews the clinical practice guidelines and
modifies them as needed.
The use of clinical practice guidelines can contribute to safer, higherquality patient care. But their contribution is dependent upon a number
of factors, including:
•• The guidelines need to be evidence-based, not arbitrary standardization.
•• The use of the guidelines must take into account the need to tailor care
to the unique aspects of each patient, patient’s disease, and patient’s
environment and resources.
•• The successful implementation of guidelines in patient care requires
their acceptance by both the physicians on the medical staff and the
managers of the hospital processes in which the physicians work.
•• The more the guidelines are embedded into integrated protocols (or
pathways) of care for use by the entire treatment team (that is, not just
for the physician), the more effectively they can be routinely implemented.
Because successful guideline implementation requires collaboration between physicians and hospital managers, all three leadership
groups—the governing body, the chief executive and senior managers,
and the leaders of the medical staff—must jointly embrace and
encourage their use.
Conclusion
The governing body of a healthcare organization has the same responsibilities as the governing body of any enterprise, whether for-profit or
not-for-profit: strategic and generative thinking about the organization
and its mission, vision, and goals, and oversight of the organization’s
functions, especially its financial sustainability, in the board’s fiduciary
responsibility to the organization’s “owners.” But in healthcare organizations, the governing body has an additional fiduciary obligation to
continuously strive to provide safe and high-quality care to the patients
who seek health services from the organization. And, if the healthcare
organization is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit—as most hospitals are—the
governing body has a responsibility to benefit the community, often
called “community benefit.”
The challenge for governing body members is that actions designed
to meet one of these responsibilities may compromise meeting another
of the responsibilities. While the obligation toward patients to “first,
do no harm” is paramount, it is also true that the organization must
be financially sustained in order to provide healthcare services—as is
often said, “no margin, no mission.” The decisions facing governing
body members may truly be “life and death” decisions, far beyond
the business decisions of most boards. That is why they often rise to
become ethical dilemmas and uncertainties, either between governing
body members or even within a member’s mind. That is why policies
on conflict of interest, managing conflict, and accessible mechanisms
to resolve ethical concerns are necessary to enable the governing body
to function effectively.
But healthcare organizations also have a rather unique characteristic. That is, the chief executive is not the only part of the organization’s leadership that is directly accountable to the governing body.
In healthcare, because of the unique professional and legal role of
licensed independent practitioners within the organization, the organized licensed independent practitioners—in hospitals, the medical
staff—are also directly accountable to the governing body for the
patient care provided. So the governing body has the overall responsibility for the quality and safety of care, and has an oversight role
in integrating the responsibilities and work of its medical staff, chief
executive, and other senior managers into a system that achieves the
goals of safe, high-quality care, financial sustainability, community
service, and ethical behavior. This is also the reason that all three
leadership groups—the governing body, chief executive and senior
managers, and leaders of the medical staff—must collaborate if these
goals are to be achieved.
The members of the governing body of a healthcare organization
face both extra challenges and extra rewards. The rewards can not only
outweigh the challenges, but can be fulfilling to a degree not often
experienced in other endeavors.
Leadership in healthcare organizations
35
36
Leadership in healthcare organizations
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertising