6 Building Blocks for Improving Healthcare Quality

August 22, 2018

The standard of services provided across the global healthcare scenario is leaping to the next level. The healthcare industry is now dominated by the ever-increasing demand for higher healthcare quality. Furthermore, recent events such as escalating healthcare costs, rising number of insured population, and awareness of medical errors have brought the need for healthcare quality into the spotlight. Providers are gradually coming to terms with the fact that quality improvement is an inevitable element of their deliverables. However, one of the biggest pain points in quality improvement efforts is knowing where to get started. Successfully sustaining quality improvement in healthcare is a tall order to fill, but here’s are some guidelines for companies in this sector to effectively achieve this:

Tips to improve healthcare quality

Analyze data and outcomes

In order to make efforts towards healthcare quality improvement, providers need to first identify the existing opportunities for improvement. The next step is to establish baseline outcomes. Healthcare companies must undertake an in-depth analysis of electronic health records, outcomes studies, and other data sources that will help them effectively identify key areas that are in need of improvement.

Goal setting

Once the areas of improvement are identified, the next step in improving healthcare quality is to set concrete and measurable goals in the identified areas. These goals must be precise and quantitative in nature. Any goal which is not quantitative makes it difficult to measure the outcome. Furthermore, the goals set must be safe, effective, timely, and patient-centered.

Team management

The efficiency of team members is the cornerstone to achieve organizational goals. Healthcare quality improvement can only be gained by having a committed and goal-oriented workforce.  An effective team comprises of members from different backgrounds, with varied skills, and experience levels. A balanced team is one of the primary and essential elements of achieving healthcare quality.  The team must comprise of a senior leader who can, provide valuable oversights, advise and advocate for the team; a clinical expert who has the technical background required to make informed clinical decisions; and a project manager who can help keep track of and accomplish day-to-day tasks.

Inputs from human factors

Human factors refer to the body of knowledge about human abilities, human limitations, and other relevant characteristics. Human factor engineering involves applying information from human factors while designing tools, tasks, machines, systems, and environments for safe and comfortable human use. Some of the key human factor principles include standardizing procedures, avoiding reliance on memory, and using protocols and checklists.

Create executable plan

In order to establish the goals of healthcare quality improvement, it is essential for healthcare providers to have a well-defined and achievable plan. This includes specific measures, protocols for attaining those measurements, and specific definitions for improvement which will be taken from your goal setting and data analysis work. It is also important to have an organized system for tracking data and achievements.

Communicate goals and achievements

Healthcare quality improvement can only be attained if the team and the organization at large know where they stand in terms of achieving the pre-established goals. The achievements, irrespective of big or small, as well as the setbacks, must be communicated to the team from time to time. This will help them re-align their efforts to achieve the desired results.

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