What do you think about when you hear the word ‘quality’? A restaurant with great food and price, a shiny new car with all the bells and whistles, new clothes that look and feel great for the price you paid, or…. your last healthcare experience!! Most of us don’t necessarily think ‘quality’ when we’re asked about our last healthcare experience, but that’s exactly what we hope we get and certainly should receive.

Quality is defined as ‘the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something’; or ‘a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.’ In today’s healthcare world, if quality is to take place, it takes every clinician, caregiver, support staff member, and facility leader focused on providing quality with each and every patient for the result to be quality. And for the patient, quality not only encompasses the clinical care, but the environment it’s provided in or customer skills of those providing the care. So how do we make sure ‘quality’ happens?

Recently the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) outlined the following objectives to facilitate an organization’s focus on quality.

  1. Drive a culture of quality and safety – by developing an organizational strategy that facilitates compliance with standards and regulations, manages quality improvement activities and focuses on advocacy for patients.
  2. Manage information – by using integrated data-management approaches, evidence-based practices, and process improvement methods, including developing change-management skills.
  3. Guide care for population health management – by delivering the right care at the right time in a culturally sensitive manner, optimizing care plans and care transitions, minimizing socioeconomic barriers, and promoting wellness.
  4. Reveal pay-for-value opportunities – by maximizing the performance of programs and services to reduce waste, and encouraging standard work processes.
  5. Adapt to environmental changes – by focusing on changing regulatory requirements and industry trends, expanding skill sets, and focusing on specialization when needed.

According to the Journal of Patient Safety, between 230,000-440,000 patients annually are subject to preventable harm that leads to death. In a healthcare world that changes daily, organizations must take bold steps to ensure quality care is provided if we are to have positive outcomes for the patient and facility. We, as healthcare professionals, must lead the charge to focus on quality with each and every patient encounter and view these best practices not only as opportunities but ‘must haves’ so the next preventable health care harm will not occur in our facilities or to someone we know.

For more information on how to improve quality in your organization, contact one of our Risk Management Consultants at 1-800-821-9605 or riskmanagement@inspirien.net to discuss how we can partner with you to implement strategies to build a culture that promotes quality and patient safety. We would also like to hear from you about what’s working for you.

Article contributed by Debbie Franklin.