Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Mingzhou Jin, James L. Simonton
Janice N. Tolk, James Ostrowski, Joseph R. Stainback IV, Yilu Liu
Over 1.7 million hospital-associated infections (HAIs), resulting in 99,000 deaths, occur each year in the United States. HAIs are defined as infections that occur within 48 hours of hospital admission without evidence of the infection being present or incubating at the time of admission. HAIs are a major concern to the medical community due to the potential loss of life and high costs. Healthcare providers should be accountable for reducing the rates of HAIs and society needs to hold them accountable for the safe implementation and outcomes of the services they provide.
A high-reliability organization (HRO) is commonly described as an organization that performs high-risk work but without rare, catastrophic events. Any industry relying heavily on human performance, such as healthcare, can benefit from emulating an HRO. Embedding high-reliability principles in a healthcare organization is a proven way to increase quality and meet the demands of higher quality expectations. The ways HROs generate and maintain high levels of safety cannot be directly applied to today’s hospitals; however, a commitment to achieving zero patient harm events and the deployment of effective process improvement tools can enable hospitals to reach a safety standard comparable to HROs.
Steps to becoming an HRO are not clearly defined; characteristics are. Correlating high-reliability constructs with safety culture surveys provides an opportunity for survey developers and hospital accrediting bodies to offer better tools and guidelines pursuant to a hospital becoming an HRO. Positively responding to societal needs for safe implementation and improved hospital-associated infections outcomes will increase hospital accountability for patient safety.
Affare, Sandra Catrice, "High Reliability Organizational Suggestions to Reduce the Risk of Hospital-Associated Infections. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2016.