The Importance of Accountability

The subject of accountability in healthcare is something the health care community addresses daily. It is crucial for health care organization to hold employees accountable for their behavior especially in situation where patient care is involved. Accountability is the most overused and misunderstood element of leadership in today’s healthcare environment (Porter & Malloch, 2007).

An important aspect of the success of any organization is anchored in accountability. The organization must hold employees accountable for their actions or the employees may feel entitled to underperform. Through the process of holding employees accountable an organization is able to promote employee responsibility and buy in. Accountability is not just crucial for in regards to the care of patient but also in regards to the fiscal responsibility of the organization. False or incorrect insurance claims can be incredibly damaging to an organization and can cost employees their job. Healthcare is a billion dollar a year enterprise which demands all members of an organization to be held accountable.

There are different ways to measure an employee’s accountability. Several options that organizations utilize are evaluations, customer satisfaction scores, and various checks and balances within an organization. All areas of health care including employees, management, health care providers, insurance companies, and recipients are all responsible for holding themselves accountable through assessment and analysis (Wilen & Stone, 1998). The cost and impact of accountability should be measured over time. This can be done when health care organizations put into operation quality control directives that produce the most effective measure of validity and appropriateness (Wilen & Stone, 2008).

Accountability is important for the employees. Through holding employees accountable an organization provides a clear and defined set of expectations for the employee. This can reduce frustration in employees in circumstances where they may not know what is expected of them until they have made a very big mistake. Holding employees accountable also allows the employee to have an understanding of their performance level, which can promote a positive work ethic (Williams, 2008).

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or JCAHO plays a big role in a healthcare organization checks and balances in regards to accountability. JCAHO establishes a set of rules and regulations designed to promote accountability in all aspects of healthcare and hospitals must meet these standards in order to maintain their licensure (JCAHO, 2012). The government, through Medicare/Medicaid also holds healthcare organizations responsible in terms of establishing guidelines for approval of medical procedures (Medicare, n.d.). In regards to these regulations the coding and billing departments then have a set definition of what procedures can be approved and the process of doing so. It is important for all parties to be held accountable in the process as the healthcare organization relies on payments from these procedures to remain successful in business. Through training of employees and holding them accountable an organization can avoid costly audits and non-payment from insurance companies (Chavis, 2009).

With all the rules and regulations that health care employees must conform to it is important to maintain a positive culture in the workplace. Holding employees accountable for their actions in an organization show that the organization trusts its employees to do the right thing. This promotes a culture of trust, honesty, and integrity in the employees, which can then translate into a positive work environment. Holding employees equally to an established set of standards and then holding them accountable to maintaining that standard is a great way for organizations to achieve a positive work environment. Employees need to be held to the same standard in order to avoid conflict, which may bring negativity to the work force. Organizational leaders should work to maintain the expectations and standards and in doing so will be able to avoid a culture where employees blame failure on others. Sometimes just being cognizant of the problems in an area is enough to help resolve them (Wenger, 2008).

Accountability is vital to an organizations success. Organization achieve licensure, establish standards of care, and create positive work environments through holding employees and each other accountable for meeting expectations set by both the organization and the government.

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