Acknowledging and examining mistakes in healthcare management is not a pleasant or popular activity. Although clinical errors have received increasing attention, executive errors have been largely ignored.
Our book is intended as a first step to address this lamentable gap in both the healthcare literature and professional consciousness. By recognizing and reducing clinical errors, healthcare organizations have improved not only the quality of care but also clinical outcomes. Additional benefits can be achieved from similar scrutiny on the administrative side if we are candid about management mistakes and become much more diligent in correcting and preventing them. Through a combination of chapters and cases, along with commentaries, we want to stimulate current managers in hospitals and other healthcare organizations to learn from their previous mistakes and to become more systematic in avoiding their recurrence.
We begin by admitting that a management mistake is not always easy to recognize and define, and that some mistakes are unavoidable. The sources and causes of errors are, however, very clear. Furthermore, as in medicine, mistakes can be the result of acts of omission as well as commission. Disclosing mistakes and developing effective coping techniques are emphasized as essential prerequisites to improving management performance.
John Abbott Worthley (chapter 2) explores the context of management mistakes by distinguishing eight major aspects: legal, organizational, financial, political, professional, ethical, social, and psychological. He provides a robust conceptual framework for understanding and addressing mistakes.