Improving Patient Safety through High Reliability Organizations


Preventable medical errors result in the loss of 200,000 lives per year with associated financial and operational burdens on organizations and society. Widespread preventable patient harm occurs despite increases in healthcare regulations. High reliability organization theory contributes to improved safety and may potentially reverse this trend. This single case study explored the introduction of a safety culture and subsequent improvements in patient safety in a reliability-seeking organization. Fourteen participants from a subacute nursing facility were selected using purposeful sampling criterion. Data were collected through participant interviews, document reviews, and group observation. Five themes emerged from an analysis of collected data including process standardization, checks and redundancy, authority migration, communication, and teamwork. The themes uncovered the need for extensive education and training, communication, and teamwork to improve patient safety. The results of the study may be useful to improve safety and enhance leadership to promote a culture of safe patient care.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Jared D. Padgett, DBA; Kenneth Gossett, PhD; Roger Mayer, DBA; Wen-Wen Chien, DBA; Freda Turner, PhD
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
The Qualitative Report
Publication Language: 
Boyer's Domain: 

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