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Healthcare is one of the least automation-assisted sectors. Healthcare services include diagnosis, cure & follow up in an attempt to stretch the current lifespan by preventing the life-threatening diseases & their effects. The human factor plays an essential role in all the segments which healthcare services deal in. Human factors in the form of doctors, assistants, nurse etc. are an integral part of services which are provided to the patients. Human factor are highly prone to errors. An important part of human factors errors is flaws inherent in the human cognitive process which are impaired by ordinary situations in which the individuals making the error is highly distracted, stressed, overloaded, or does not have enough knowledge regarding taking a valuable action.
The healthcare industry is managed by the most important service delivery factor- Quality. Quality lies at the helm of service delivery structure. In a nutshell, quality has an upper hand in service delivery since it reduces rework, the risk involved, waste generated, lowered costs etc. Quality simply means complete focus on the process involved & the precision to segregate what is really essential while doing any work. It refers to attenuating the background noise generated while researching something. The desire for quality has led to humans forming many protocols & regulations which in turn can provide enriched experiences & recognition too (Rahman, 2001)
The humans working in the healthcare sector are exposed to a lot of risks. A few can be listed as contamination owing to improper safety measures, unhygienic environment, manhandling volatile solutions etc. Training & complete knowledge of the processes involved forms the critical part which can cause a lot of difference in how services are carried through. Learning is a continuous process & it shouldn’t be halted for anything. The personnel involved in healthcare sectors also encompass the cleaners & hygiene caretakers, the suppliers etc. Such people may or may not have complete estimation of risks associated with incomplete knowledge. Demarcating responsibilities & the risks associated with the same play a vital role in self-protection from hazards or diseases.
The main aim of the report is to identify the human factors that impact on work performance along with this critically analyzes the relationship between these and quality and safety in health care provision.
Individual characteristics (1st tier)
Each employee has different way or idea to do work which impacts the team performance or may reduce the quality of the services. According to the above figure 1: individual characteristics is a part of the first tier factor that helps in identifying whether the performance would be considered as the acceptable or not acceptable. It is to be believed that individual characteristics are those which bring the person to this job, i.e. knowledge, training, skill level, sensory capabilities, along with the attitudinal states such as fatigue, alertness, or motivation. The skills and knowledge which a health provider has develop before the employment is the key factor to perform their work effectively. A the same time, it is arguably said that organismic factor such as fatigue due to the long working hours can reduce the ability to perform his/her job perfectly. Knowledge and skills plays a crucial role in providing the quality services in the health care sector. An employee who has less knowledge regarding their clinical practices cannot perform properly which would not be able to provide the quality services. If the employee has to diagnose the patient but the employee lacks how to operate the machine can questioned the safety and security of the patient. This human factor highly impacts the quality of the services provided in the health care sector. It is highly crucial to analyze if the team and employees in the health care sector knows their job correctly or if they are making any effort to provide quality services with ensuring the safety and security of the patient at all levels. Lack of skills and knowledge may lead to frequent errors which are not good in the health care sector.
Nature of the work mainly related to the type of work in the multiple situations along with this it also includes how well-defined procedures have been utilized, peak and non-peak workloads. It is to be believed that many health care clinic like regularities bodies, non-governmental organizations have their own policies, culture and practices that have significant effects on the quality of the services provided by the human resources at all levels. Working individual or working in a team has different effect on providing the quality care to the patient. According to the patient radiance beam, it has been identified that working in pairs have fewer errors and greater quality care at all levels. If the employees do not get the clear goals, vision, strategic plan of the organization, then it becomes hard for them to work hard and out their maximum efforts in the best possible direction which also helps in providing the quality services at the workplace. The organization who frees their employees to communicate at any levels without any barrier mainly lead to better work outcomes and helps in resolving their queries with their fellow workers wherever needed.
Physical environment (3rd tier)
Productive and effective physical environment to the employees helps in improving their performance along with this employees are able to provide quality services when needed. To ensure the quality of the services, organization must able to provide adequate and necessary supplies, tools, and supportive physical environment to perform their job effectively. It is also crucial for the organization to understand that it must have effective maintenance system to improve and support the quality performance of the employees. The organization needs to maintain the proper working environment which includes workspace, light, ventilation, water, and furniture to provide smooth working environment. This kind of management helps in providing the quality services to the patients as employees feels free, recognized and respected at their workplace. Nurses or workers in the health care sector must have well-deserved professional reputation as a result of their hard work, commitment, ethics, and compassion they have endeavored in the organization.
Management (4th tier)
Each & every business organization is governed by management decisions. Even a leaf of decision cannot ruffle without management approval. It is important for management to ensure employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction generates results. Efficient leadership should be exhibited by the management by addressing the employee problems. Management should make use of its excellent positions. Prevention of malpractices & shortcuts should be prohibited by management. The management can encourage leadership initiation amongst its employees to organize the workforce responsibility too. Not only financial approvals are monitored by the management but also the need to introduce revamps in orthodox practices should be prioritized (Mosadeghrad, 2008). The management should closely observe the ergonomics to eliminate the chances for absolute risk. Employee satisfaction is largely controlled by management decisions (Mohammad-Alizade, 2009). For eg, - A nurse is largely responsible for the patient’s care & knows the progress/ history too. The nurse can inform the doctor of the necessary findings & other things related to it to make the work easier. Proper communication between nurse & doctor is equally essential. The communication gap should be eliminated wherever necessary. The management can resolve the communication-related issues by stepping in. It should encourage team building activities & also track the progress on the same. Team building activity might involve discussion on the findings or may also be a change of team every month to ensure communication within all. (Silvestro, 2005)
External environment (5th tier)
External factors like economic pressures, technological advancement, political climates, and, changing demographics influence the quality care provided to the patients.
With the rising environmental concerns, humans are being affected by some or the other diseases which are not even known to the medical science. Diagnosis forms the crucial part in an attempt to reach the depth of a certain symptom. Accurate recognition of what discomfort the patient experiences & the steps following it determines the patient satisfaction. It is necessary to recognize that patients are not in complete oblivion to the treatment that follows. These days when everything lies within the reach of the internet, it doesn't toughen the task to validate the treatment direction & procedure. Patient satisfaction is guaranteed if the cure successfully subsides the patient discomfort. Patient reviews say it all. If doctors feel they are being acknowledged by the quality work they have delivered, it definitely boosts the motivational levels. Few words of worthy appreciation from the patient would instantly lift them up. Patient satisfaction lifts the hospital image & its reputation which is beneficial for the hospital revenue. (Andaleeb, 1988) Customers tend to exhibit the positive response in the form of preferences over the others. The service availability, consistency, the feedback on the improvement, efficiency & outcomes determine the overall satisfaction levels the patient has.
The human factors framework plays a crucial role in the health care sector along with also helps in providing the quality care to the patients at all levels. All the identified tiers have their own importance and neglecting any may lead to human errors in the patient care.
The importance of quality & intrinsic motivation can never be neglected. Quality is an inherent aspect of service delivery to ensure customer satisfaction. Quality is determined by the internal factors in an organization & external factors in the form of human performance. To improve the quality, it is crucial to encourage the employees by taking with them openly.
It is to be believed that training must be provided to the employees for the initial days but on the side it is also said that excessive training may impact the overall budget of the organization which will not be considered as the best idea (Andaleeb, 2017).
Quality often leads to customer satisfaction, improvised marketing strategies, and always has a scope for improvement. Quality is the combination of the support from healthcare provider & customer cooperation which could be enhanced by following the prescribed procedures & maintaining work environment. A caretaker’s calm is one of the governing factors. There might be times when a caretaker is burdened with tones of responsibility but managing it would benefit them both. Sometimes, quality might be enhanced by following up with the customers after they have been diagnosed. Customer care departments are there for a reason. Not only good reviews strengthen the possibility of a revisit by the customers but also recommendations would fetch new ones too. There is a rise in trend wherein hospital authorities levy more than what is the norm & it leads to immense customer dissatisfaction. Such practices would ensure decline in customer base & is also punishable in some cases (Kohn, 2000).
With the increase in technological advancements, some complexities have been resolved for medical sciences. The time required to deliver the results after certain tests have diminished significantly. Time consumption in certain medical activities has reduced leading to better treatment time. Presence of appropriate resources adds up to quality by allowing more time for treatment & reduced stress. On the other side, it is to be believed that the employees who have less knowledge for the set-up of the new machines may hamper the patient safety and security which is a serious matter of concern (Sohail, 2003). Upgrades in such technologies would further reduce the time. The quality of work gets improved since some ailments require more time to get treated. For eg- A cancer patient needs to be counseled psychologically to prepare him for the upcoming treatment. An external counselor would need additional coordination. If a counselor is already housed within the hospital employees, the additional time required to carry on will drastically be reduced. Then, it is highly crucial to co-ordinate the working schedules of the counselor to avoid discrepancies (Dieleman & Harnmeijer, 2006).
Sometime, in the emergency, Quality of work delivered might get affected by the number of working hours a person has been through. Exhaustion leads to deviated concentration & irregular quality. A human body needs appropriate rest before the brain can function smoothly. Alignment of thoughts is often lost when a person experiences exhaustion or discomfort due to bad health. This can severely affect diagnosis & quality too. Segmenting shifts should be strictly incorporated to give such situations a miss. Following procedures in a stringent way would ensure quality (Strasser, 2015). The role of management & quality is intertwined. The procedures & practices followed at the workplace are formulated by the management approval. Quality delivery & monitoring is indirectly related to management decisions. The management should always strive to upgrade the quality level present in the work procedures & ensure safe practices for the patient. Safe practices such as the use of standardized equipment & resources are already leveling up the quality bar. It is in the betterment of the hospital to mandatorily check these things on a timely basis. Hospital audit also reveals the safety standard which is existing & also the loopholes in it (Kohn & Corrigan & Donaldson, 2000).
Motivation & quality delivered are always related. If motivation becomes a habit, the quality delivered is of high value. Excellent quality also means higher safety too. Monetary & non- monetary motivation is an applaud for the caregiver in lieu of his hard work. Valuing the extra effort & its acknowledgment is an essential ingredient to ensure safe operations. Safe operations & quality are intricately weaved & are interdependent on each other (Mosadeghrad, 2008).
Human factors are the sole essential to organize the work in the healthcare sector. Technological intervention is still limited apart from its vital role in diagnosing the discomfort. Motivation increases quality & in turns the safety of all the people in the hospital. Also, training & upgrading the employee’s knowledge would lead to reduced accidents/ incidents too. Human factors are responsible for the quality & safety at the workplace. Non-monetary incentives too shouldn’t be understated. Research has shown concrete evidence of performance building. Motivated personnel always deliver more than asked for. Intrinsic motivation can also be injected in the form of recognition for the value of services delivered, accolades, esteem, appreciation etc. Human factors in the form of doctors, assistants, nurse etc. are an integral part of services which are provided to the patients. The healthcare industry is managed by the most important service delivery factor- Quality. Quality lies at the helm of service delivery structure.
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