Our relationships with our colleagues clearly affect patient safety. If we are not approachable, we may never find out about potential errors leading to bad outcomes. Evidence suggests that it also affects; workforce morale and turnover, patient functional health outcomes, mortality and length of stay. An engaged conscientious set of colleagues that are mindful of caring for each other as well as their patients is a sustainable model for the future of healthcare.
Healthcare organizations need to pay attention to the importance of relationships, not just vision and mission. Relationships are built on trust. Covey writes about the "Speed of Trust" because with trust, constructive conflict, commitment, accountability and results can happen. Trust is earned through transparent, respectful, behavior that delivers what it promises. Ask yourself if you have heard people doing the caregiving say that their concerns are not heard by administration? How about people in administrative positions concerned that they can't get the caretakers involved in decision making? This is the irony of many hierarchical organizations. Without meaningful engagement, there is a void of trust.
By creating opportunities for meaningful conversations amongst diverse sets of people involved in care for health, whether it is in an organization, family or community; it is possible to improve relationships while engaging in the tough work of making care better for patients. The easy solutions that can be solved by individuals are diminshing as we embark on this journey into a more complex world of medical homes and accountable health communities. The tools of engagement are evolving as well. Roberts rules are too restrictive for the innovation that is required for the future. We need to use the participative tools that encourage all voices in the room so that the decisions to move us forward are wiser. We can be better together and together better!!!