Applying the Concept of Positive Deviance – Health System Example

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"Applying the Concept of Positive Deviance" is a delightful example of a paper on the health system. In most cases, people produce divergent results after implementing specific actions despite being exposed to analogous constraints. To achieve uniformity in terms of the desired outcomes, it is therefore imperative for policy implementers to identify approaches employed by those who achieve positive results and adopt them across the board. One of these approaches is positive deviance. This paper explicates and describes prolonged clinic wait times as an example of a health care quality problem that warrants systems-level change and how it could be addressed using the principles of positive deviance. Applying positive deviance to avoid prolonged clinic wait times  The elucidation of positive deviance lies primarily on the conjecture that some people achieve better outcomes than their colleagues under the same conditions or working environment (Bradley et-al, 2009).

In other words, some people are able to formulate better resolutions than others when faced with the same predicament. Prolonged clinic wait times are a major problem in health care as it leads to patients' dissatisfaction with the health care delivery system within institutions and as a result, many people opt to seek the services of other providers whose waiting times are lower.

The concept of positive deviance can be used to solve prolonged clinic waiting times. According to Seidman and McCauley (2009), "Positive deviants tend to think and act well in advance of where the organization wants to go, and are already practicing many of the attitudes, behaviors, and business processes these functions wants to achieve as a result of the cultural change initiative" (p. 31). Seidman and McCauley (2009) further notes assert that positive deviants achieve better results than others because they love their work.

Motivating nurses will therefore improve their devotion and as a result, put the interests of the patients first. Secondly, positive deviants spotlight their attention on achieving social benefits. Aligning organizational objectives with social benefits acts as the basis for effecting change as it is explicated by Seidman and McCauley (2009) as a source of motivation. In terms of reducing clinic waiting times, basing objectives on achieving social benefits will motivate nursing managers or leaders to implement appropriate strategies to reduce the waiting periods. Some of the reasons for prolonged waiting periods for patients include nurses forgetting to book appointments (Zhu, Heng, and Teow, 2012), and patients showing up without having booked appointments.

According to Seidman and McCauley (2009), individuals who achieve better outcomes or positive deviants do proper planning and therefore comprehend actions that ought to be avoided. In line with prolonged waiting times, being aware of what to negate could help nurses plan and prioritize activities and in so doing prevent forgetfulness associated with booking appointments.

Positive deviance also involves the identification of potential risks (Seidman and McCauley, 2009). In this viewpoint, positive deviants are able to circumvent instances that could contribute to prolonged waiting times. Positive deviance subsequently involves proficient use of supporting resources (Seidman and McCauley, 2009). For instance, holding regular training, workshops, and using information from past research on ways to lower waiting times could be of benefit. In conclusion, achieving lower waiting times through positive deviance could involve motivating nurses and other health care workers to love their work, align organization and care objectives with social benefits, proper planning in order to ascertain behaviors, actions, and processes to avoid, and also employing the use of supporting resources such as regular training, workshops, and information from past methodical investigations.        


Bradley, E. H., Curry, L. A., Ramanadhan, S., Rowe, L., Nembhard, I. M., &Krumholz, H. M. (2009). Research in action: Using positive deviance to improve quality of health care. Implementation Science,4(25), 1–11.

Seidman, W., & McCauley, M. (2009). A scientific model for grassroots O.D. Organization Development Journal, 27(2), 27–37.

Zhu, Z., Heng, B. H., & Teow, K. L. (2012). Analysis of Factors Causing Long Patient Waiting Time and Clinic Overtime in Outpatient Clinics. Journal of Medical Systems, 36(2), 707-713.

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