8 Healthcare Quality Improvement Tips

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced promising improvements in the quality of healthcare due to improvements across the country. However, there is still a lot of work to be accomplished.

Costs for healthcare are rising, increased consciousness of the dangers of errors in medicine and a greater than ever amount of insurance-covered Americans have brought focus to high-quality enhancements within US healthcare.

 There are many initiatives today around patient safety and outcomes as well as care coordination, efficiency and cost-cutting are in progress, and initiatives to redesign care are being evaluated to determine future improvements in healthcare quality. 

These tips can help you with your healthcare improvement efforts.

1.) Review your results and data

The renowned management expert, Peter Drucker, famously stated, “If you cannot measure it, you are not able to control the problem.” In order to ensure that you begin making improvements in healthcare, you’ll determine what opportunities are available for improvement, and establish the baseline results.

After that, you must look at patterns and trends in digital health records and outcomes studies, and other data sources to determine the areas that are that require improvement.

2) Set goals

Based on the findings of the exercise above, you can set clear and specific goals in those areas that you believe are the most needing improvement. They must be precise and quantitative in their nature.

It is recommended that they be precise and quantitative. Institute of Medicine (IOM) has outlined six goals to improve or pillars of high-quality healthcare that can help guide your goal-setting for improvement.

As per IHI, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Healthcare should consist of the:

    • Secure: Avoid injuries to patients by taking care of them in a way designed to assist them.
    • The most effective: Match care to the latest research; avoid excessive use of ineffective care or the inadequacy of efficient care.
    • patient-centered: Be respectful of the patient’s choice.
    • Quickly: Reduce waiting for patients as well as the people who provide medical.
    • efficient: Reduce waste.
    • Equitable Racial, ethnic and cultural differences in health situations.

3.) Create a team that is balanced

An effective team must include members with diverse backgrounds, who have different capabilities and experiences. In the opinion of IHI IHI, the formation of a balanced team is among the most important steps in the process of improvement.

The team must include the leadership of a senior person who will give advice, oversee and be an advocate for the group; a clinical expert with the knowledge required to make educated clinical decisions as well as a project leader capable of completing day-to-day tasks and ensure that the team is on the right track.

4) Include Human Factors Inputs

According to The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Human factors are an area of study that covers human capabilities as well as limitations of human beings and other features that affect design.

Human factors engineering refers to the application of information about human factors to the creation of machines, tools systems, processes as well as environments to ensure safe, comfortable, and efficient use by humans. These are in close relation to improvement in quality.

The most important human factors guidelines include avoiding reliance on memory and standardizing procedures using checklists and protocols.

As per the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, the consideration of human factors in the development of healthcare processes and systems has many advantages, such as improved efficiency of care processes and improved communication between medical professionals, and a more understanding of the patient’s medical conditions, reduced risks of medical device and errors related to health IT, improved results for patients, and cost savings.

5.) Develop an executable plan

To achieve your goals efficiently and in a timely way, you need to develop a feasible improvement plan. This should include specific measures, and procedures to achieve those goals as well as specific definitions for improvements that are derived from your goal-setting and data analysis.

Make sure you establish a systematic system to track your measurements and data. Health Resources and Services Administration Health Resources and Services Administration offers precise guidelines and steps for developing and implementing a quality improvement plan through their website.

Also, you can read our guide to managing projects for healthcare professionals.

6) Be familiar with the PDSA cycle

The IHI recommends using the Model for Improvement as a method to guide improvement efforts. According to the IHI, this model, which was developed through Associates of Process Improvement, is “an easy, yet effective instrument for speeding up the process of improvement.”

The basic concept of this model revolves around the Plan-Do-Study-Act ( PDSA) cycle, which is used to evaluate improvements in quality or other aspects of improvement in the clinical setting.

When planning, implementing, and monitoring an action, and observing the outcomes, and then implementing the information gained it is possible to identify the most effective changes.

This process is essentially akin to what is required in the scientific method but it’s adapted to the learning that is action-oriented.

7) Set goals and track progress.

When you have your plan in place Be sure to share it with your team members and your entire organization. Communicate milestones, both big and small, as well as delays. Thank those who contributed and had an impact on your work.

Your plan is more likely to be successful when your staff is engaged.

8) Find other organizations to research and join forces

Certain websites, like Patients Care Link, allow consumers as well as healthcare professionals to look over hospital information and trends. Examine the data to determine the organizations that excel in the particular field which you’d like to improve.

Find out more about research online and in the journals, and contact them to see if there is something you could learn through their Quality Improvement programs. Many organizations are willing to share their knowledge for the benefit of patients.

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