The aspect of quality management involves systematic approaches, specific techniques, and incessant actions that lead to measurable upgrading in the health status of target patient groups and in the provision of health care services. Quality in an organization is linked to its service delivery approach and incorporation of certain fundamentals that include;
Quality Improvement work as systems and processes
For improvement of health care outcomes it is ensured that resources in the care center and the activities carried out are aligned through process mapping in order to better understand the processes of health care within its practice system. For an organization to better understand the best practices in health care service provision, critical pathways for particular service provision need to be mapped and tied to the pertinent clinical guidelines as this would also ensure optimal outcomes are achieved.
Focus on patient
The extent to which patients in a health care organization are cared for and their expectations met is a measure to be considered for quality provision of services. Patient services designed to meet their expectations include; care provision that is evidence-based, the safety of patients, systems affecting patient access, support for patient engagement, patient-centered communication, and support for patient engagement. Also for improvement of patient safety, to be targeted is the accuracy of the health care`s medication list.
Emphasis on team work
Quality improvement activities require team work since solutions require creativity, complex processes within the organization, different dimension of issues, and variety of disciplines within an organization and team work assists the organization achieve substantial and lasting improvements. Also, of importance to efficient delivery of services is the creation of effective infrastructure in leadership, procedures, and policies for facilitation of the team.
Focus on use of the data
The importance of the data is to the extent it describes the performance of systems and documentation of successful performance. For instance; quantitative methods assist in finding the average of a specific laboratory value, calculation of the percentage of patients receiving appropriate health screening, and calculation of frequencies of timely access to health care.
The difference in health care quality improvement among the stakeholders arises due to the variations in the organization of services or processes. These variations in the health care systems lead to inefficiency and in the presence of evidence – based best practice in the clinical process can result in harm and errors. So as to increase the reliability of health care service provision this aspect needs to be addressed through standardization of key best practices. However, minimal variations are typical and QI process approaches assesses the control of a clinical process and is an important measurement tool and to assist in the understanding of the level of variation in the system over time.
Clinicians and patients perform different functions for efficient quality improvement services. These roles by clinicians include: a day-to-day leader who organizes and drives the ongoing work measurement, and team, the data entry person records and reports data on a regular basis, the provider champion is the one who is in regular contact with those patients who are directly affected by the quality improvement efforts, and the operations person whose duties involves streamlining old processes and designing new ones and may include: nutritionists, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers.
Patients are involved in QI by engaging the health care providers and as co-producers of health. They can be a source of information and system performance and can act as evaluators of care and the parameters of quality.
QI is important as health care of patients is improved, there is improved clinical processes and efficiency in the managerial functions, and costs are reduced to a minimum through the reduction of poor outcomes and procedure failures and errors. Also, there is improved communication with internal and external resources to an organization and solution of critical issues.
The specific QI regulatory bodies would include: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – they are involved in quality indicators such as Inpatient QIs, patient safety indicator, and prevention QI. Another body is the American board of quality assurance and utilization review physicians whose role is to provide health care education and certification to physicians, and other health care professionals. Other resources important to quality improvement include the health resources and services administration clinical quality and performance measures toolkit of educational tools for efficiency in QI efforts and also the corporate responsibility and health care quality which is a tailored resource for health care board of directors with the main aim of assisting directors carry out their oversight activities in the health care environment.
Berwick, D. M., Godfrey, A. B., & Roessner, J. (1990). Curing health care: New strategies for quality improvement : a report on the National Demonstration Project on Quality Improvement in Health Care. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Jencks, S. F., & Wilensky, G. R. (1992). The health care quality improvement initiative. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association, 268(7), 900-903.