Leadership Ineffective in Patient Safety Walkrounds

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Senior leaders who disagree with the recommended principles of patient safety walkrounds may engage in counterproductive behaviors during said walkrounds, according to a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety.

Researchers conducted a qualitative analysis of walkround programs at two teaching hospitals. Their analysis included interviews with senior leaders and front-line staff members.

According to the study, "senior leaders tended to regard executive visibility as an end in itself and generally did not engage with staff concerns beyond the walkrounds encounter." Additionally, some senior leaders reportedly believed they understood patient safety concerns better than the front-line staff, even calling some staff concerns "stupid," according to the study.

According to the Health Research & Educational Trust, walkrounds aim to increase safety issue awareness, make safety a high priority for senior leadership, educate staff about patient safety concepts, collect information from staff on barriers to safety, analyze and act on this information and give feedback to providers and leadership on patient safety processes.

Researchers suggest senior leaders should be better prepared to help avoid counterproductive behaviors observed in the study.

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