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THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE September 11, 2012
Valek & Co. E-news: High-Reliability Organizations
  • The Quest for High Reliability in Health Care
  • Ray Valek Moderates Public Health Social Media Conference
  • Dear Ray,

    This issue features a summary linked to an article I wrote about high-reliability organizations (HROs). I'm sure we all consider our organizations highly reliable. The article covers HRO characteristics, especially in relation to accountability and speed. While the article focuses on the importance of establishing a safety culture within health care organizations, it also provides examples from which organizations in virtually any industry can learn.

    The second article in this issue covers how social media is now used to communicate important public health messages on issues ranging from cancer prevention to sexual health and behavior.

    Thank you for reading. As always, we value your business, referrals and interest. Regards,

    Ray Valek





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    The Quest for High Reliability in Health Care

    By Genevieve Valek

    Mindfulness and perfection: these two words summed up a progressive way of thinking about high reliability in health care and other industries, according to thought leaders presenting at the 2012 Fifth International High Reliability Conference, hosted by the Joint Commission from May 21-23.

    Ray Valek covered the three-day conference and wrote an article summarizing the proceedings for The Joint Commission's Web site.

    Mindfulness refers to the acute awareness workers in a high-reliability organization must have. They must be mindful that even a small failure in a safety process or procedure can potentially lead to a catastrophically adverse outcome. Mindfulness leads organizations to find flaws at earlier stages when they can be more easily fixed rather than after they have caused them. Perfection in reliability is the standard to which an organization must aim, speakers agreed.

    About 150 conference attendees represented industries including aerospace, chemical, emergency medical services, health care, military, nuclear power, petroleum, social services, transportation (including airlines), and wildland fire control. Dr. Daved van Stralen, one of the primary conference organizers and associate professor of pediatrics at Loma Linda University, said all attendees have tried to solve difficult problems and have gained insight or solutions they can share. "This conference is about sharing our experience with each other," he emphasized.

    Ray Valek Moderates Public Health Social Media Conference

    By Genevieve Valek

    Ray Valek moderated an Illinois Public Health Association conference titled "Boost Your Message: Social Media Techniques in the Public Health World" on January 11, 2012. The purpose of this conference was to provide participants with an overview of social media channels and tools (including Facebook, Twitter, mobile, and more) and how they apply to public health communications and marketing.

    In the public health world, social media is being put to use to convey many important messages ranging from cancer prevention and treatment to sexual health and behavior. Four panelists each gave their own presentations covering topics such as using social media to maximize services and partnerships, social media interventions on risky sexual behavior and Chlamydia incidence, and the confluence of good health practices and social media. The audience consisted of administrators, health educators, nurses, health communicators, and public health program managers.

    In today's day and age, social media is becoming a predominate method of communication not only between friends, but also between businesses to share information with a large audience swiftly and effectively. The conference gave participants skills needed to begin developing a basic social media strategy for health promotion and prevention messaging.

    To learn more about the Illinois Public Health Association, go to

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