With changes occurring in the health care arena at a rapid pace, there is great opportunity for growth as well as potential risk for error. In his recent Urology Times column, Robert Dowling, MD, discusses the use of a survey tool that practices may utilize to assess practice culture and openness to change. Use of this very simple tool may aid the leaders of a practice to determine if there are areas of concern requiring modifications.
Created by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the survey is meant to be disseminated to all parties within the practice as a means for completeness of viewpoints. Dissemination of the survey to everyone may also help provide a better measurement of a practice’s growth and receptiveness to change with regard to patient safety and quality of care. With the myriad options patients have for their care today, this simple and easy-to-complete tool may prove to be a valuable measurement of workplace culture, possibly serving as an identification of concerns for staff retention and morale, patient satisfaction and retention, and safety.
When compared to eight other specialties, such as endocrinology, neurology, cardiology, and others, the culture within the specialty of urology appears to be relatively positive, with an overall placement of second, just behind general surgery. Specific domains evaluated included the following:
- Patient care tracking follow-up: approximately 90%
- Teamwork: 80%-90%
- Overall perception of patient safety and quality: 80%-90%
- Staff training: approximately 80%
- Organizational learning: just under 80%
- Average across composites: 80%-90%
- Communication openness: above 70%
- Owner/managing partner/leadership support for patient safety: above 70%
- Communication about error: approximately 70%
- Office processes and standardization: approximately 70%
- Work pressure and pace: 50%-60%.
Use of the survey allows a practice to make positive or negative comparisons with other practices within the same specialty.
While urology can boast a robust second place among specialties, there are areas of concern that must be discussed. The recommended measurement of success is within five percentage points of the overall scores, yet not one of the percentages is above 90% and the lowest (work pressure and pace) is 50%-60%. These measures are important to consider when setting goals for positive practice culture and indicate significant areas that may require improvement.
The health care field does not show any signs of slowing in pace or growth, and as many people view health care as a service, it is important to strive for an environment that is high in quality, care, support, and acceptance.
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