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Comprehensive clinician accountability and clinical governance reduces the likelihood of errors being committed in the delivery of health care.
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Clinical governance and clinician accountability are integral concepts in today's modern healthcare sector. The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the statement that comprehensive clinician accountability and clinical governance reduces the likelihood of errors being committed in the delivery of health care. After key definitions are initially identified, the concepts of comprehensive clinician accountability, clinical governance and the link between the two are then explored in the context of their effects on the potential for, and incidence of, clinical error with reference to current literature.
Contemporary definitions of safe healthcare have revolved around the provision of care free from the occurrence of preventable harm and avoidable adverse client outcomes (Institute of Medicine 1999; Isaac et al. 2010). Early Australian research suggested that individual, technical and organisational factors could all contribute to adverse events and that up to half of all such events may be potentially preventable (Wilson et al. 1995). Several common risk factors for the occurrence of adverse client outcomes and clinical error have been identified, including clinician misjudgement, interpersonal interaction shortcomings, insufficient policy, inadequate clinical practice frameworks and support systems and the existence of clinical systems with vulnerabilities related to deliberate misuse behaviours (Chang et al. 2005; Lingard et al. 2004; Patel & Cohen 2008). The relevance of such risk and causative factors to client safety may remain consistent regardless of the severity of the outcomes of clinical error (Bartlett et al. 2008).
The topic of error in the healthcare environment has been the subject of considerable focus.