7 High Reliability Principles for Healthcare Based on Nuclear Industry

Healthcare organizations need to establish a common safety system framework to become high reliability organizations, according to a perspective piece in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

The authors, who include both healthcare professionals and nuclear industry risk management specialists, state that healthcare organizations can improve and sustain safety performance by learning from the U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons program. The defense nuclear industry established a framework for minimizing errors and improving safety. Based on this framework, the authors propose seven guiding principles for a patient safety management system for healthcare:


1. Leadership commitment is essential for creating a culture of safety.
2. Everyone is responsible for safety.
3. Empower governing bodies to create and enforce safety policies.
4. Eliminate preventable harm.
5. Establish a universal, uniform approach for safety management.
6. Mandate reporting of safety issues, errors and near misses.
7. Cultivate learning as part of the organizational mentality.

More Articles on High Reliability Organizations:

5 Traits of High Reliability Organizations: How to Hardwire Each in Your Organization
Turning Healthcare in to a High Reliability Industry: Memorial Hermann Shares 5 Steps

Joint Commission, South Carolina Hospitals Partner for High Reliability

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