Military treatment facilities (MTFs) around the globe are committed to reducing preventable harm to patients—the ultimate goal of high-reliability health care. Becoming a high-reliability organization (HRO) requires an exceptional degree of safety, on the order of organizations that operate in high-risk environments, like commercial aviation and nuclear power.
And although the military health system has aggressively taken on this transformational HRO challenge, the path forward for any individual treatment facility is far from clear.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has embraced the Joint Commission’s framework for becoming a health care HRO, with its three domains of change: leadership commitment, a culture of safety, and continuous process improvement. However, the framework is really just a starting point. It does not provide clear-cut methods, with built-in measures and metrics, nor does it detail the specific tools and techniques that are needed to attain HRO goals.