In their paper "Front-Line Ownership: Generating a Cure Mindset for Patient Safety," Zimmerman and her colleagues introduce us to the novel concept of FLO – front-line ownership – within the quality and safety arena. Based on their 18-month study of nosocomial infections within five Canadian hospitals, the authors highlight the benefits of allowing front-line staff to own and manage patient safety problems as opposed to imposing programs on them that were created by leaders who did not consult them in developing appropriate solutions.
Their paper highlights many of the benefits of FLO, particularly around social networking, interdisciplinary team work and clinician engagement. But how does FLO measure up in the context of other more technical methods of managing adverse events within healthcare organizations? What are the benefits and weakness of FLO? Is FLO consistent with external accreditation requirements and the drive for greater standardization? Will its necessarily longer time frame consign it to a few small-scale research projects or is there real potential to use FLO techniques for other quality and safety problems beyond nosocomial infections?
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