Quality assurance in medical facilities is sought so as to create satisfaction for customers by providing them with health care that is both appropriate and superior (Donabedian, 2002).This is achieved by the promotion of continuous assessment and ensuring improvement of the quality of healthcare, service quality, safety of patients and the quality of business components that support delivery of healthcare.
For the subject of my Session Long Project, I identified Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, California. This is part of the Kaiser Permanente health care consortium. This group operates dozens of hospitals that offer acute care. The group has a ring of medical offices spread in nine states across the country. Most hospitals are located in California and my project focused on the one in Oakland. This organization caters for many healthcare needs and is renowned for its quality services across the state of California. The organization consists of several elements that include caregivers, a laboratory, hospital, and a pharmacy and is driven by professionals who include health care experts, customer service people and business managers.
The quality assurance policies and practices at Kaiser Foundation Hospital are broad in scope. The policies and practices encompass three major areas of the organization; structure, processes involved and the expected outcomes. The policies and practices are actualized across a variety of clinical programs including the management of chronic diseases, risk management, quality of service, infection control, quality management of resources, disease prevention, and bioethics. Others are cost effectiveness and safety of patients. All these play an important role in this hospital’s structure of management in terms of quality assurance.
At Kaiser Foundation Hospital, a continuous quality improvement program has been incorporated. This is used in monitoring the health care offered at the facility, and its main focus is to improve its delivery. The highly trained professionals at Kaiser Foundation Hospital are at their sharpest in identifying problems of patients, implementing corrective actions, monitoring the effect of these actions and finally if the services offered match up to the overall organizational goals. Their correctional facilities are designed in such a way that they employ a structured process to ascertain specific areas in the healthcare delivery system that require improvement. Normally, when these areas are located, the staffs employ the most appropriate strategies for improvement.
On a continuous basis, the staffs monitor problem laden or high-risk aspects of health care. The areas include accessibility of the hospital’s healthcare, emergency care and all events that adversely affect patients like death.
Normally, the caregivers carry out process studies that are geared towards examining the effectiveness of the delivery process of the healthcare at the facility. Outcome studies are also conducted. These guide the caregivers in identifying whether the desired patient outcomes are reached. The studies are geared towards identifying problems at the facility, studying them, coming up with an appropriate plan, implementing the plan, monitoring results. The studies ultimately demonstrate any exhibited improvements (Robertson, 2006).
The Kaiser Foundation Hospital has established a comprehensive, continuous quality improvement program because it attends to a larger population of over five hundred people on a daily basis. The hospital’s CQI program is managed by a committee comprising of health staff from a range of disciplines; nursing, medicine, mental health, pharmacy, dentistry, health records, and laboratory. The benefit of having a multidisciplinary approach is to enhance cooperation between the staff as well as to enhance their satisfaction with the overall process (Mant, 2001). Such a team also offers a rare opportunity to find solutions to problems across the discipline. Moreover, the effectiveness of this comprehensive CQI is reviewed annually purposely to provide an assurance that health care taken is clinically appropriate and that it is implemented by the requisite health staff.
The CQI program at Kaiser Foundation Hospital is in tune with the anticipated program at model facilities. It adheres to the standard of a CQI program and incorporates all the essential features in its implementation. Consequently, its implementation has improved patient health outcomes like mortality, enhanced efficiency of clinical processes, avoidance of costs that could have resulted from process failures, better reliability and predictability of health care systems, and improved profitability for the hospital.
Total quality management principles have been permeated in healthcare provision at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. This is a quality-oriented philosophy aiming at bringing a transition in healthcare (Robertson, 2006). Some of the major principles of the TQM program include patient focus, teamwork and continuous quality improvement. The health professionals at this facility are given sufficient support. There is a deep commitment to leadership in the hospital and powerful subcultures have been eliminated leading to easy adaptability of TQM. This hospital prides itself in providing an environment that is customer focused and patients always receive the attention they need. On teamwork, all the healthcare professionals are involved in offering quality work at all times. All of them are involved in achieving this noble and common goal of quality. The teams that care for patients in this facility provide prevention services, acute care, and end-of-life services. The leaders of this hospital have exemplified good leadership that has steered the workforce in the desired direction hence easy implementation of TQM.
This facility incorporates thorough utilization management in its quality assurance initiatives. All medical necessities are examined to establish their appropriateness. All the healthcare services, facilities used, and procedures are also reviewed to ascertain their efficacy. Essentially, this quality assurance parameter aids in promoting efficient utilization of the hospital, continual assessment and improvement of the access and quality of medical care and education to staff and patients.
Kaiser Foundation Hospital subscribes to risk management principle in its operations. These are the various strategies employed to reduce the occurrence of particular risks. In this facility, both proactive and reactive elements are applied. Proactive components prevent health losses from occurring. The reactive ones are those that respond to devastating occurrences. Risk management process entails correct diagnosis, accurate assessment, correct prognosis, and effective management of ailments. This risk management and ultimate quality improvement initiatives purpose to secure patient safety, minimize liability exposure of the healthcare providers, and scale down financial loss of the institution (Robertson, 2006).
It is evident that Kaiser Foundation Hospital has laid down the key structures and systems that aid in the provision of high-quality medical care. Moreover, various principles are used in inculcating quality assurance in the hospital’s services. The medical staff is highly qualified and has the requisite knowledge necessary for implementing all the principles of quality assurance. It is agreeable that Kaiser Foundation hospital quality monitoring and assurance programs are robust, valuable and most importantly effective.
Donabedian, A. (2002). An introduction to quality assurance in health care. Oxford University Press.
McLellan, A. T., Chalk, M., & Bartlett, J. (2007). Outcomes, performance, and quality—What's the difference? Journal of substance abuse treatment, 32(4), 331-340.
Mant, J. (2001). Process versus outcome indicators in the assessment of quality of health care. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 13(6), 475-480.
Robertson, S. E., & Valadez, J. J. (2006). Global review of health care surveys using lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS), 1984–2004. Social science & medicine, 63(6), 1648-1660.
The Joint Commission. (2014).Accreditation, Health Care, Certification. Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://www.jointcommission.org/