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Informal CEO rounds increase patient safety

A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology shows that the actions and behaviors of top leadership affects employee well-being and productivity. In healthcare industries this positive impact quickly trickles down to patients, suggesting the importance of leadership connecting effectively with staff. Informal rounds are a good way of making that connection.

Any CEO can sit in an office and contemplate patient safety and satisfaction by poring over informative data and monthly reports. For many this may be an efficient policy, but the executives who make the best decisions and the most powerful changes are the ones who step away from their desks and take time to engage with their staff members.

Catherine Miller, R.N., J.D., risk management and patient safety specialist for Cooperative of American Physicians Inc., told FierceHealthCare, "Staff are the greatest untapped resource in the hospital. They are the ones who are ultimately familiar with the work and have the best ideas for fixing things. For CEOs to talk to staff directly and use rounding to reinforce the organization's mission, it is a way for them to recognize staff for setting the standard."

On-the-spot acknowledgement from top leadership tells staff that their work matters, and allows them to see that CEOs are just as committed to improving patient care outcomes as they are.

For CEOs just beginning the rounding process it can be difficult to engage with staff members and patients who are intimidated by leadership presence. One way to avoid this is to ease in to the transition. Begin by interacting with staff and patients via the hospital's social media pages, for example. Applications like Patient Approved, where executives can read about and interact with patient feedback regarding staff and the hospital, can also help create routes for communication.