Why Do You Need a Back-Up Plan? (Part 4 of 5)

Frank Federico, RPh, IHI Executive Director

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Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Explain the value of having a back-up plan for a reliable process.
  • Identify when to create a back-up plan for a reliable process.
  • Recall at least two examples of back-up plans within a health care setting.
  • Discuss at least two reasons why back-up plans can fail.
Description: You’ve developed a reliable system, and it’s producing good results. That means it’s time to create a back-up plan. Why? In Part 4 of this five-part series, IHI Executive Director Frank Federico, RPh, discusses why and when to create a back-up plan for a reliable process. After sharing two examples of effective back-up plans, Frank also explains why they can fail.
Discussion Questions:
  1. If you have a reliable system, why would it be worth your time and resources to create a back-up plan? Can you think of a time when you’ve been thankful you had a back-up plan in your work?
  2. Frank explains why it’s dangerous to create a back-up plan before a process has reached 80 percent reliability. Does the explanation make sense to you? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were overly reliant on your back-up plan?
  3. What examples of back-up plans have you seen in health care settings? Have you ever experienced a process breakdown where there wasn’t a back-up plan and having one would have made a difference?
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