As health care policy reform is moving towards greater accountability through pay-for-performance schemes, effective adaptation requires that organizations commit to sustained quality improvement. The continuous quality improvement (CQI) process is a tool that organizations can use for internal assessment to identify areas needing change (Morley, Flaherty & Thomas, 2003). My facility obtained a score of 76/110 on assessment indicating that significant structure, system and process improvements need to be enacted to ensure readiness for CQI. Such improvements entail optimizing strengths and addressing weaknesses.
Among my organization’s strengths is a focus on consumer satisfaction achieved through participatory care planning and prioritization of consumer needs. These are part of employee orientation. Monthly quality assurance meetings further guarantee that care is evaluated and steps are taken for further enhancement. Other strengths include having interdisciplinary teams which, ideally, can provide safe, comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective care. The high value and respect accorded to staff add to their motivation. However, these strengths cannot be optimized if weaknesses are not addressed.
Among my facility’s weaknesses is limited employee autonomy in dealing with consumer complaints and work-related problems. There are limited opportunities for experimentation, risk-taking and innovation which are necessary elements in seeking quality improvement. Poor communication is a barrier to achieving optimal outcomes from interdisciplinary team work while limited upward communication prevents the airing of ideas regarding needed changes. Thus, staff members cannot significantly influence the direction of the organization. Moreover, the culture is not fully open to change. Lastly, there are budgetary limitations to CQI projects.
As such, recommended changes are the following: making communication open and encouraging employee inputs and participation in organizational plans and decisions; management support fostering greater employee autonomy to innovate; instituting openness to change; optimizing interdisciplinary team work through improved communication; and reorganizing budgets to make room for quality improvements (Robbins, 2005; Alexander et al., 2007). A good start would be to form a CQI committee or team to ensure that there are personnel responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating quality improvement within the organization (Alexander et al., 2007).
Alexander, J.A., Weiner, B.J., Shortell, S.M., Baker, L.C., & Becker, M.P. (2006). The role of organizational infrastructure in implementation of hospital’s quality improvement. Hospital Topics, 84(1), 11-20.
Morley, J.E., Flaherty, J.H., & Thomas, D.R. (2003). Geriatricians, continuous quality improvement, and improved care for older persons. The Journals of Gerontology, 58A(9), 809-812.
Robbins, F. (2007). Managing continuous quality improvement. Nursing & Residential Care, 7(8), 349-352.