Promoting health and safety in health care: a bottom-up tool development

Abstract: The objective of this project was to develop a tool for safety and health monitoring in operating theatres that tried to overcome the limitations of existing methods. Sixty health care operators (nurses and physicians) of six ligurian hospitals joined the project in 2010-11. Following the action-research methodology, we facilitated them in developing a tool – tailored on their cultural and operational environments – for the detection and solution of issues related to health and safety at their early stage. The tool is composed of three parts: (1) anomaly detection (problem description, potential consequences and proposal solutions); (2) problem setting and problem solving (definition of timeline and roles for problem management); (3) solution process monitoring (effectiveness assessment and new actions to do). The tool has several strengths both at the organizational and individual level: it enhances interaction and information sharing, improving organizational health, it empowers operators self efficacy and locus of control in influencing organizational processes, it can become a database of already solved issues concerning safety and well-being, allowing operators to learn from these experiences, it can also afford a clear monitoring of processes that are generally long and tortuous due to the organizational complexity of health care units.

Keywords: organizational health; action research; operating theatres