HRO Tool of the Month: Validate and Verify

November 4, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

Approximately a 4-minute read

Key takeaways:

  • The HRO Tool of the Month is Validate and Verify, which is in direct correlation to the organization’s reliability skill of having a “Questioning Attitude.”
  • Use a Questioning Attitude every time you interpret information and every time you choose a rule from memory.
  • Always stop if things do not make sense or you are unsure. Validate! Verify!

Remind me, what is a Questioning Attitude?

A Questioning Attitude, a high reliability universal skill, helps to support clear communication. In fact, it is essential to ensure we reduce preventable harm and errors to patients and ourselves. We all need to be open to asking and being asked questions.

Take a moment to reflect on the work you do.

Have you ever been uncertain about something but proceeded anyway? Are there certain situations or people where you may be hesitant to ask questions?

A Questioning Attitude is a habit of the mind that ensures that our choices are best for the given situation. It is both asking questions and questioning the answers. The tool we use to support a Questioning Attitude is called Validate and Verify.

Tools: Validate and Verify

Developing a Questioning Attitude requires that we ask ourselves whether or not what we are being asked to do makes sense, is safe, and fits with our knowledge and experience.

It means being on the lookout for incorrect information and assumptions, trusting your gut, stopping and validating. If you are unsure or can’t cite the reasons why to do something, it is important that you STOP and go find a resource.

Our work is complex, and it is OK not to know the answer to something. It is not OK not to find out.

Remember that pressing ahead in “knowledge-based” mode has a 30%-60% chance of failure.

Don’t chance it, check it.

Using Validate and Verify in daily work

Some examples of resources that could be used to validate and verify in this situation are: trainings in the new learning management system, Cornerstone Learning; policies, procedures or guidelines in PolicyStat; and supervisors or leadership.

To be clear, relying on personal judgment is not validating and verifying.

Always seek external resources in order to validate and verify something that seems unsure.

Seeing Validate and Verify in action

During the pandemic, an ambulatory care administrative manager embedded high reliability behaviors, skills and tools into their manager meetings. When a manager asked if it was appropriate to take a next step, the administrative manager replied “Yes, but remember to Validate and Verify first.”

Since then, Validate and Verify has become the expected behavior. Whether it is verbal or written, “V2 (Validate and Verify)” can be heard or seen in daily practice. “Before I do it, I will V2 it.”

A nurse from the medical surgical unit shared how beneficial the practice of Validate and Verify is during every stage of a patient’s discharge process.

At Michigan Medicine, patients are discharged every day, but some discharges are more complex or time-intensive than others. The nurse recognized that there is power in the pause!  By stopping (or pausing), not chancing it, and checking it, errors and potential patient harm can be avoided during discharge.

Finally, the safety of you and your colleagues is the organization’s most important priority. A laboratory supervisor Validated and Verified with Security Services experts to ensure their workspace safety protocols were as safe and reliable as possible. 

Remember that the organization’s work and environments are complex.  It is OK not to know the answer to something. It is not OK not to find out. 

Resources for all

Please check out these resources for more clarification on HRO Universal Relationship and Reliability Skills. There are downloadable and printable handouts that you can share with your team or hang in your areas. 

Validate and Verify: One-page reference

Manager talking points: Think, Say, Do document

High Reliability website

Refresh: HRO Universal Relationship Skills