Unique Challenges in the Health Care Industry and How Mediation Can Resolve Conflict

Unresolved conflict in the health care setting can lead to significant challenges in this industry. Being aware of these challenges and alternative forms of dispute resolution like mediation can help.

Conflict in the health care setting can result in significant expenses, both direct and indirect. If the case is litigated, there will be additional legal fees that the health care facility will have to pay. Additionally, unresolved conflict can affect patient satisfaction, occupancy rates, workers’ compensation and disability claims, increased turnover, and decreased employee morale, an increase in clinical errors and a disruption of management time. Negative publicity can further negatively affect the health care setting.

Confidentiality is another concern in the health care setting. The staff may not be able to freely disclose relevant medical information to all interested parties. This may create an additional barrier to resolving conflict. Additionally, the health care setting may have time constraints that impact the ability to wait for litigation to finalize in order to resolve the problem. Additionally, situations involving conflict in the health care setting often involve emotionally charged situations.

Many physicians and nurses do not have significant training in negotiation, conflict resolution skills or communication. The mediation process allows an expert in these skills to help facilitate an agreement. A mediator can work closely with the parties, inform them of misconceptions and help uncover hidden interests to help the parties more agreeable to a cooperative solution. Additionally, mediation addresses many of the challenges involved in the healthcare setting. The parties can agree to keep the proceedings confidential so that there is not negative publicity or an invasion of the patient’s privacy.