Fear of Failure in Healthcare

Posted on May 1, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Healthcare has a culture where the expectation is that you should never fail. Because of this culture we often take too long to adjust and change. This fear of failing at something new often causes is to keep sub optimal situations that impact our patients in negative ways. Doing nothing can often have worse impacts than doing something that goes wrong.

I love the quote that Jared Johnson shared above “Too often we ask, “What if this goes wrong?” instead of, “What if this goes RIGHT?””

This is a powerful idea that many in healthcare need to learn. We’re too afraid of something going wrong that we don’t even think about all the things that could go right if we changed a process, changed a policy, implemented a new piece of technology, etc. You know you have this problem in your organization if you’ve ever asked why something is done that way and they say “It’s just how we’ve always done it.”

While it’s easy to blame the culture of healthcare for this problem it is something we can overcome. Or I should say that it is something a courageous healthcare leader can overcome. This culture all comes from the leaders who don’t frown upon employees who make mistakes, but instead reward those who take a risk that could be extremely beneficial to patients and the organization.

Courageous leaders are ones that aren’t afraid to do what’s right for patients even if it puts themselves at risk. This is not an easy thing to do. It’s always easier to go with the safe, reliable, “nobody gets fired for doing…” approach that’s so common in healthcare. It’s much harder to take a patient point of view and say that I’m going to do what’s right for the patient even when it might buck the organizational culture.

It’s time healthcare leaders fearlessly embraced changes that will improve healthcare. Yes, that will mean some risk of things going wrong. However, the best leaders mitigate the risks as much as possible, but focus on the positive benefits that will come when everything goes right.