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Accountability involves the procedures and measures for justifying and taking responsibility for different activities within an organization and has since become an important concern in health care. It is emphasized in the debate on patient safety because how decision makers are held accountable is presumed to influence how they make decisions and the quality of those decisions. Therefore accountability is a powerful force which influences human decision-making and it has been studied in organizational dynamics, social cognition, and human-machine interaction. This essay will explain the importance of accountability in health care industry, show how employee's accountability is measured and explain what a checks and balance process looks like. Also, it will explain how accountability affects an organization's working culture, how a positive working culture can be maintained and how a working culture of blame can be avoided in a health care organization.
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Importance of accountability
Accountability creates general improvements by increasing task motivation. It leads to more responsive policies and effective services. As a result, many accountability mechanisms, e.g. hospital boards, village health committees, and publicity campaigns are currently being used in implementing health policies and programs worldwide. These measures support a broad range of activities that include information dissemination, monitoring, mediation and peer pressure between various actors (Aspen Health Law Center.1998)
Accountability facilitates good coordination and communication within wealth care organization which consists of groups of specialized people with specific purpose in the set of policies, procedures, and culture. Mistakes are not required in health care organization as they deal with life and death. Therefore, high level co-ordination and communication should be maintained which is attained through accountability. Accountability mechanisms support interactions between communities and services to the benefit of both service providers and their users (Kakabadse A, Bank J and Vinnicombe S.2004).
Measurement of employee's accountability
The employee's accountability is usually evaluated over a period of time. The suitable gauging parameters include services delivery, performance, customer satisfaction, and assessment of all outcomes. Accountability of the employee will be accomplished when the health care industry implements concepts that results to the highest levels of validity and appropriateness for health care delivery. All health care providers bear responsibilities which necessitate the assessment and analysis.
Checks-and-balance process in a successful organization
The checks and balances refers to a mechanism designed to limit power of single individual or an organization and provide for the harmonious interrelationship of the people and all of the departments of an organization. In a successive organization, checks and balances allows only the legitimate power to take the governance and allows the implementation of good ideas. They also ensure that acts such as corruption, oppression and power abuse are reduced.
Checks and balances are important for all health care industry because there is opportunity for one person to use his/her power to gain something at the expense of another. For example a nurse may use the situation of the patient to exploit him or her. The appointment of health care industry management by the relevant corporate boards is an example of checks and balances (National Health Policy Policy.1998).
Effect of accountability an organization's working future
Accountability can act as an external control or monitoring device to an organization. It may enhance responsibility which can provide an opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of an organization. Accountability will help individuals and turn the current environment of finger pointing and aggressive monitoring into a facilitative organizational practice that benefits both the organization and its clients (Silverstein S.2010)
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Maintaining a positive working culture and avoid a working culture of blame
In a health organization, patient safety is derived from results of the research on human expertise, collaborative work, and high reliability. To maintain best working culture, one should understand how the breakdowns can occur and how to support the right decisions in the complex health care field, avoid a culture of blame and create a favorable flow of information and learning about vulnerabilities to failure. Finally, an individual should partner with all the stakeholders in health care to set aside conflicts and to make progress on a common goal (Axis advisory. 1997).
The accountability system in an organization is a critical and sometimes difficult to deal with. People need to discover an alternative way to achieve high accountability and high openness to information and learning. The poor system of accountability degrades decision making and safety. New design accountability system will help a health care organization to anticipate paths to failure that can come up as capabilities, organizations and technology change.