The success of any organization deeply relies on the accountability of each individual employee within the organization. Accountability is the act of accepting and carrying out one’s responsibilities (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). Accountability, in the business sense, refers to an individual that can be counted on to fulfill responsibilities, and when mistakes or lapses occur this individual is willing to take ownership and resolve the issues. An individual that is accountable does not place blame on others when problems occur. This individual is willing to accept the blame when problems occur because it was the responsibility of the individual to avoid such problems. Accountability is imperative in the health care industry. With the health and well-being of people’s lives at stake, it is a necessity that all health care professionals hold themselves accountable. An organization is only as strong as their weakest employee, so when one individual does not hold up his or her end of the bargain, the entire organization suffers for it. In turn, this leads to decreased quality of care and services that are provided by the organization.
Accountability is important in the health care industry for a number of reasons, but the most important reason is because accountability improves quality of care. “Efficiently run organizations that are clinically integrated and hold themselves accountable will ultimately be positioned to perform well and deliver results in any scenario” (Austin, 2010, para.). The practice of accountability in an organization ensures that all individuals understand, accept, and effectively carry out their responsibilities (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). When all employees fulfill their responsibilities, the quality of care and services provided are improved. Accountability also helps to manage the workload that is required by each employee, ensuring that no individual employee is overloaded with responsibilities. This leads to improved employee morale throughout the organization and decreases problems and tension between staff members (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). When everyone is doing their part, the health care organization is able to operate much more smoothly than if some employees didn’t meet their responsibilities.
There are a few ways that employee accountability is measured in the health care industry. One way to measure employee accountability is to perform evaluations of each employee’s performance (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). This helps to determine where each employee is successful, not fulfilling responsibilities, and where further training may be required (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). By developing performance standards for each employee, management can easily determine if employees are meeting their responsibilities, and measure accountability (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007).
Checks-and-balance processes are important to the success of any organization. A successful organization’s process involves management clearly defining responsibilities and performance expectations. “High-quality communication is essential to make sure all pertinent information gets across” (Price, 2010). This ensures that all employees understand what is asked of them. By providing ongoing training to employees, the organization ensures that all employees are competent in their field of specialization. Problem solving is assigned to groups rather than individuals to ensure that the problem is looked at from different viewpoints (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). This allows a solution to be determined collectively through discussion between group members, and stops decisions from being made based on the opinion of one individual.
Accountability affects the organization positively. Accountability helps to boost morale and decrease the conflict between employees. It also ensures that all employees are not being overloaded with work because they don’t have to pick up the slack for others that do not fulfill responsibilities. Accountability also creates an increased willingness for employees to collaborate with one another because they feel that they can rely on one another to complete responsibilities effectively.
Maintaining a positive working culture and avoiding a culture of blame can be a difficult task to achieve, but is very attainable. “A positive physician culture means the physicians understand why they are there (to provide care to patients), enjoy a healthy, competitive internal dynamic among themselves, and know they are delivering a high quality of care” (Lyons, 1999). By creating an open work environment where meetings are held in which employees can be involved and discuss opinions and ideas, the organization is able to make the employees feel that they are significant contributors. This can also be a positive way to work through conflict, rather than to play the blame game. Employees can discuss conflicts and collectively reach a solution. By encouraging employees to collectively work through the problem solving process, the culture of blame can be avoided (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007).
Without the presence of accountability throughout an organization, success is very difficult to achieve. Success within a health care organization is driven on employees being able to count on each other to meet responsibilities. If one individual in the organization does not live up to expectations it can greatly impact the entire organization negatively. Quality of care is dependent upon all individuals within the organization doing their part to meet the overall goals of the company.
Austin, G. (2010, Winter). Accountability generates improved care. Frontiers of Health Services Management, 27(2), 41-43. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e9ad7227-48a3-4c2d-9c1f-99feb06019a0%40sessionmgr115&vid=4&hid=109 Lyons, M.F. (1999, March-April). Be positive–it’s a necessary strategy. Physician Executive, 25(2), 72-73. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?sid=e9ad7227-48a3-4c2d-9c1f 99feb06019a0%40sessionmgr115&vid=7&hid=109&bdata=JnNpd GU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d Porter-O’Grady, T. & Malloch, K. (2007). Managing for success in health care. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, Elsevier. Price,