Thursday, January 24, 2008

The DUN Factor: How Communication Complicates the Patient Safety Movement

The DUN Factor: How Communication Complicates the Patient Safety Movement: "The patient safety movement is an incredibly important effort yet sits precariously poised at the edge of the same logic-driven chasm as the rest of medicine, obsessed by a nearly exclusive focus on defining processes as the key to enhancing safety. The movement is on the brink of making the same mistakes as the medical malpractice insurance industry, and the medical profession itself, by ignoring incredibly important aspects of the human relationship as related to patient safety and liability. The patient safety movement, in its current state, is in danger of over-promising and under-delivering unless it includes a focus on the relationship between the caregiver and the patient as a core and critical piece of the puzzle.

Enter the DUN Factor. DUN is my mnemonic for 'Dynamic, Unpredictable, and Non-linear,' and it reflects how life really 'is.' In brief, life is DUN. The DUN Factor is responsible for the majority of patient safety breaches and accounts for the terrible medical malpractice environment.

Perhaps nowhere in our daily experience is the DUN Factor more evident than in the communication between two (or more) people. Who would argue that conversation between two or more individuals is not dynamic, often unpredictable and non-linear, especially in emotionally charged situations, as is often the case in healthcare."

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