Facility’s Continuous Quality Improvement program
Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland has continued to provide quality health care services in the state of California and other eight states across the country. It has quality assurance policies and practices that mainly touch on three major areas; processes, structures and the expected outcomes. The objective of Continuous Quality Improvement program is to ensure that there is a systematic and intentional improvement of services that result to increased positive outcomes to the patients (Gowen, McFadden, & Settaluri, 2012). The hospital provides health care services that are focused on the patients. It has quality assurance programs in the areas of risk management, management of chronic diseases, infection control, quality of service, bioethics, resources management, disease prevention, among others. The hospital processes and structures are directed towards meeting or even exceeding the expectations and needs of the patients. The services that the hospital offers are characterized by a great commitment to preserve and promote the wellness of the patients. They are also focused on providing alternative choices to the patients in order to enable them to choose from among many choices. The quality of service program ensures there is a continuous monitoring of health care services that are provided in the hospital. It has a pool of professionals who are trained to identify problems of the patients, apply the corrective action, and to monitor the effects of their actions. These professionals include health care experts, business managers, and accountants, among others. It has strong leadership that provides support and direction in implementing CQI programs. The hospital CEO and the entire governing body provide the assurance that quality improvement programs are in line with the strategic plan or mission of the organization.
Although the facility has not implemented all the recognized standards for a CQI, it has made tremendous efforts towards meeting the required standards. First, the hospital has a strong leadership team that has played a crucial role in the implementation of CQI programs. However, it does not have a quality improvement committee that is supposed just to concentrate on providing continuous operational leadership. The committee provides day-to-day leadership required in implementing continuous quality improvement activities. The committee is supposed to meet on a monthly basis or at least ten times annually, in order to provide on-going operational leadership. The organization has also not fully empowered their employees fully in order to allow them to drive it in the next level when it comes to quality improvement. There no regular retraining of staffs as required in the principles of TQM, and many staffs still depend on the skills they acquired in colleges. The organization only sponsors one or two staffs annually to higher institutions of learning, a fact that has limited their ability to advance their skills in their areas of specialization. CQI is a data informed practice that requires the organization to create a loop of feedback; using data to measure results as well as to inform the practice (Nold, 2011). Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland has already created systems to receive feedbacks from patients and other stakeholders such as creating a suggestion box, regular survey, and continuous research among others. However, the organization needs to invest more resources on research and development given the ever-changing trend in the health care sector. More diseases that are dangerous and infectious such as Ebola are emerging daily; forcing health care organizations spend more resources in research, if they are to continue meeting the needs and expectations of the patients.
Areas for improvement in the facility's CQI program
There are several areas that need improvement in regards to CQI programs as noted in the previous section. First, the facility needs to appoint the quality improvement committee that will be responsible for providing operational leadership in implementing CQI programs. The committee will ensure that the hospital is continuously improving its quality of service for the sake of the patients. Secondly, the organization needs to invest more resources in research and development to enable it to remain relevant in the dynamic health care industry (Schattenkirk, 2012). These resources will help it to sponsor adequate number of staffs to institutions of higher learning. Continuous retraining of staffs will ensure their skills are updated in order to deal with emerging diseases. Advancing its laboratories and colleges will also play an important role in empowering its experts to deal with new diseases. Thirdly, the organization needs to improve its channels of communication with its patients in order to ensure there is a continuous improvement of services it renders to the patients. Old-fashioned methods such as suggestion box, postal mails among others may not work effectively nowadays. With the global advancement in technology, patients prefer to use modern channels of communication such as twitter, facebook, whatsapp, and emails since they are more efficient and accessible to the compared with traditional methods. The organization need to adopt these modern methods, and also use its websites to communicate effectively with patients.
CQI Program adherence to the principles of Total Quality Management
Most of the CQI Programs have adhered to the principles of TQM in the Kaiser Foundation Hospital. One of the principles of TQM requires CQI Program to define their vision, which is to improve the quality of product or service that the organization offers to its clients (Murphree, Vath, & Daigle, 2011). The hospital has a strong leadership that set its strategic goals in order to achieve its vision. The mission of the organization is clear to all staffs, suppliers, creditors and other stakeholders. They all know that the hospital is there to provide quality services to the patients across California. Secondly, it has systems and processes that are effectively managed in order to enable it to undertake continuous quality improvement. Processes such as risk management, case management, teamwork, patient-focus, service quality among others are driving the hospital towards total quality management. Thirdly, the management of the hospital always encourages workers to work as a team as a way of combining their synergies, and for better outcomes. The HR department divides workers into groups of five, with a supervisor to ensure they are working towards improving quality of service they render to the patients. The hospital also has a rewarding system where outstanding workers in a given period are given money prizes, promotion or even public recognition. Those who are performing below expectations are given the appropriate discipline action in order to challenge them to work hard. However, there are areas that the hospital management would to improve in order to adhere to the principles of TQM. For instance, the management needs to ensure there is constant learning, especially before working and on-the job training (Thomas, 2011). The principles of TQM require managers and other staffs to keep learning from research, competitors, clients, as well as their colleagues.
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Murphree, P., Vath, R. R., Daigle, L. (2011). Sustaining Lean Six Sigma projects in health care, Physician Executive. 37(1) 44-8.
Nold, H. (2011). Merging knowledge creation theory with the Six-Sigma model for improving organizations: The continuous Loop model. International Journal of Management, 28(2), 469-477.
Schattenkirk, D. (2012). Building sustainable internal capacity for quality within a healthcare environment. TQM Journal 24(4), 374-382.
Thomas, E. A. (2011). Implementation of occupational health service improvements through application of total quality management processes. AAOHN Journal, 59(6), 267-273.