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It is desirable to have a system where everyone understands what is needed of him/her. In healthcare, accountability is of great importance considering that the health workers are usually overworked and overstressed. Suitable mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that accountability is part and parcel of a system. Accountability should be integrated into the customer care service to impress upon customers and should not be taken as a code of punishment but a measure of taking responsibility (Miller 2000). Building accountability in an establishment should take into consideration all the employees regardless of their position in the establishment. The measures that can be put in place in a healthcare unit to accomplish accountability include:
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Outline of Service and Behavior Expectations
Patients have in mind what they expect when they visit a healthcare unit. When defining what needs to be met during the delivery of services, both in-patient and out-patient should be asked what they feel should be implemented to make their time within the establishment enjoyable and fulfilling. The needs and expectations can then be summarized for analysis to make it is easy in implementation. Some examples of expectations that one might come across include: patients may need the hospital staff to keep matters relating to their health confidential; smiling and making eye contact when dealing with them. The hospital staff on the other hand would expect patients to knock on the door and introduce themselves when they need they visit the healthcare establishment (Scott 2000).
When all this has been done, the staff needs to be informed and explained to about these expectations. It should be an interactive forum where sharing of views and explanation of unclear statements should take place. Since patients do come and go, communication between them could be in terms of posters, bulletins, suggestion boxes or questions. The healthcare establishment might need to take one on one fact finding mission by visiting the local communities residing in and around the hospital establishment (Scott 2000).
Hospitals also need to have a reporting desk where medical errors are reported to avoid a similar occurrence. A voluntary self reporting program should be put in place to avoid such errors being leaked to the public to avoid stigmatization of the hospital staff. This will help in holding hospital staff accountable and it is not a means of shielding them (Miller 2000).
Standards and Guarantee Creation
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An establishment should create service standards i.e. protocols, scripts and guarantees which will ensure consistency and accountability. In creating the scripts, protocols and guarantees that are geared towards having an interactive customer care service, all the cadre of employees should be involved for them to understand the purpose and need of such measures and how they are to be carried out(Scott 2000).
While scripting, one needs to avoid a script that elicits a feeling of insensitivity and indifference when it is put into use. Therefore, two things that a healthcare establishment needs to consider comes into focus i.e. the needs of a patient as a customer and the end results that a healthcare unit as an establishment needs to achieve in its interactions with the patients. The scripts and protocols should not be too rigid such that striking a balance between the two needs during interaction between a patient and the hospital's employee is difficult (Scott 2000).
Accountability is usually determined by measuring it with whatever rules and regulations that have been put down in a process known as benchmarking. Achieving accountability can be quite a big task and patience is needed to achieve it. It is suggested that one behavior is implemented at a time to keep track of progress and avoid people being overwhelmed by the sudden changes. It should be a step by step process that should ensure every staff member is participating to achieve the required goals.