For many people, a person with integrity demonstrates consistent moral and ethical principles irrespective of who’s watching. Healthcare systems deal directly with people’s lives, therefore it is vitally important to adhere to ethics and standards to keep patients safe.
In the healthcare industry, integrity means doing what is right within the discretions of your professional judgment. Three pillars make up integrity in healthcare. The combination of all three traits demonstrates integrity and builds trust between caregivers/physicians and patients.
In healthcare, honesty is vital. It could be the reason why a patient’s life is not lost or why revenue is slow to arrive. Honesty means that you speak the truth at all times, even when it’s uncomfortable for you. For example, when a team member inadvertently misses a process step causing confusion and revenue delay in processing a patient’s account, s/he should step back, understand why/what happened, and resolve the mistake.
Practice management can use teaching opportunities to delve if the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude are in place for the task at hand. The outcome is to prevent repeat of the mistake and ensure individuals have the necessary tools. Oftentimes, new ideas may bubble up creating better efficiencies and processes.
The quality of taking responsibility for failure is important – not to cast blame on an individual but to prevent a repeat occurrence. Failure is a teaching and learning moment, leading to change. If a patient complains of poor customer service to a manager, the manager should apologize to the patient and take responsibility, actively listening to the patient’s side of the story. Afterward, s/he can then find out the reason for the negative experience and create a solution that will ensure no other patient experiences the same kind of service in the future.
3. Personal Accountability
In healthcare, from the top down, each individual must be accountable for his/her actions. When a situation arises, self-reflection prevents using excuses (or others) to justify a mistake or poor decision. Questions such as A) What is the problem? B) How am I contributing to the problem? C) What can I do or how can I act differently to contribute to a solution? and D) How will I be accountable for the outcome? Be the one who takes different actions to create better results.
Benefits of Integrity in Healthcare
TRUST: Integrity breeds trust between you and your patients as well as between you and your team.
RELATIONSHIPS: Integrity solidifies relationships. When everyone is dependable, responsible and accountable, working together is seamless. Patient relationships will also be enhanced with a better patient experience.
GROWTH: Building a culture of integrity lets everyone know what is expected and encourages empowerment. Encourage ownership whenever possible to quickly resolve an internal or patient conflict.
Ensure your hiring practices highlight these traits so your team is comprised of healthcare professionals who also value trust and integrity. This will ultimately ensure quality care delivery to your patients and a healthy bottom line.