Belief is such an interesting thing – central to who we are, what we do, and how others see us. What does this have to do with quality of care? Well, quite a lot as it turns out. In the various health, community, and aged care organisations I visit, I see a lot of “belief-based quality”. What does that mean? Boards and executives are generally very optimistic about the quality of care their organisation provides. They all think their care is above average (hmmmmm) and that in general their staff are out there every day doing a great job. Sometimes they have valid and reliable information to support this view, sometimes they do not. Many of you will have heard my theory on this: we have a deep belief, embedded in our healthcare DNA, that high quality care is created by smart, well trained, well intentioned people coming to work and doing their best. Even in the face of copious evidence to the contrary, in the shape of adverse event studies and public inquiries into poor care, many boards and executives cling steadfastly to the view that all is well – until it’s not. Their mantra is: “We’re accredited and we have great staff. What else is there?”
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