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My wife underwent surgery recently. This provided me the chance to spend days at a time hanging out in a hospital. My intention was to be present to meet my wife’s needs in any way. I couldn’t help but watch everything that was happening there with keen interest. Their procedures and processes piqued my interest, and I could not help but notice the constant efforts and technology employed to ensure there were no errors.

HR Learning From Healthcare

I don’t work or travel in medical circles so I really don’t know what goes on or what is in the forefront of this space currently.  As I suspect, most of our PICHR readers don’t either, as we are predominately died in the wool HR folks.  I work in the manufacturing segment, and for many years, as a community we have been working on different aspects of the Six Sigma concept.  And even within that process, a goal of 99.99966% is the target, not the 100% or zero defects target which the medical community aspires to reach.

I realize that returning a defective product to the merchant does not have the same impact as a faulty hip replacement or other medical item, but if we continue to think about our work product in that way, will we ever get to the next stage?

My wife was questioned by eight different personnel (that I overheard) after arriving at the hospital on the day of the surgery about her name, birthdate, and the type of surgery she was having. In order to submit data along the way, five of those eight persons also scanned the bar code on her bracelet, which not only confirmed that they had the right person for the job. The final stage in this validation process involved physically writing L5-S1 on the back of my wife (the area of the surgery). I initialed this after writing it.The surgeon then initialed this and noted on her back the medications that would make her experience an allergic response when he visited her before the procedure. There was no doubt in my mind that they would do this correctly!

They texted me to update me on her condition while she was having surgery. Although not an epiphany, this is still a very nice touch.

I repeated my observational techniques later, back in her room. There were two things that I kept getting interested in, and they were both quite straightforward. A record of every encounter with the patient was kept in their computer system. To log on, an employee ID badge was used (no key strokes or passwords). Then, in order to access the patient file and record information, the caregivers had to scan my wife’s bracelet with a scanner. This was done to ensure accuracy.

There are many more things I took away from this experience, but that is all I will put on you now.  Here is my point to all of this. Do you give your work in HR this level of importance – are you positive that everything you do is correct?  Do you have processes and policies in place to ensure this?   Do you or your department check, and re-check more than once, do you audit your systems or are you adding technology to ensure accuracy.

Or do you subscribe to the, aw shucks it’s just Human Resources and maybe some payroll mentality, if it’s not right we can fix it next week or at the next review, right?

If you agree, I think you might want to contemplate a few items such as employee safety, taxes, data security or building security. You may not have a second chance to get it right.   Let’s learn from our friends in the medical community and get it right the first time and every time.

P.S. As a side note, my wife is doing fine and got some really fantastic care on the fourth floor in the Neurological Wing at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL.

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