Positive recognition improves doctors’ performance

12 Mar 2013 | Medication Safety

Medical professionals are much more likely to accurately reconcile patients’ medications when they are given positive recognition, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Medication-related adverse events have been identified as a major health care problem in the United States. Researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore conducted a study to see if a positive reinforcement programme could encourage resident physicians to accurately keep track of patients’ medications.

In the study, a team of 36 anaesthesiology residents in an outpatient pain clinic were told how to reconcile medications correctly. The residents were told they would be publicly recognised by management at the clinic if the team reached its compliance goal.

When the researchers analysed the results, they found the positive recognition programme had improved the odds of physicians complying with the medicine reconciliation process by 82 percent.

The researchers say positive recognition is often used in the business world, but has not been used extensively in the health sector as a way of motivating health professionals to improve their performance. If used more widely, they said, positive recognition had the potential to improve patient safety for outpatients.

Read the full study here.

Last updated 12/03/2013