Speaking Up is a Critical Behavior to Improve Patient Safety and Quality in Healthcare

Joint Commission predicted that 80 percent of the serious safety events occur due to miscommunications among healthcare professionals. Speaking up is one of the critical behaviors of patient safety that displays an important role for improving quality and patient safety in healthcare. A study by Nacioglu (2016) sought to assess the effectiveness of speaking up for patient safety, identify the influencing factors of speaking up, evaluate the effectiveness of speaking up training and find enablers of speaking up.

This study identified studies in the literature about "speaking up" behaviors to improve safety outcomes via considering both patient and provider perspectives. Varied databases were used to find English articles that relevant to both patient and provider’s speaking up behaviors that mainly focused to demonstrate its impact on patient safety outcomes. Data was extracted and analyzed to find influencing factors and recommended voicing up behaviors that display important role for improvement in quality and safety of healthcare.

Fifty-three relevant articles were identified in 83 articles. Those 53 articles consist of four literature reviews, three RCTs, eight cohorts, one case control, 34 cross sectional studies and three reports. This study is the first study about not just identifying factors that influencing speaking up behaviors among providers but also including factors of patients’ voicing up behaviors for safety. This study is also providing some ‘enablers of speaking up behaviors’ which may help healthcare leaders and professionals’ decision making process for quality and safety improvements in their organization.

The author concludes that speaking up is one of the critical behaviors of patient safety. Awareness of factors that ‘influencing’ and ‘enabling’ speaking up behaviors may help leaders and decision makers to improve quality and safety of healthcare in their organization. This study is providing complex process of speaking up behavior and their impacts on patient safety outcomes.

Reference: Nacioglu A. As a critical behavior to improve quality and patient safety in health care: speaking up! Safety in Health. 2016;2:10

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