In healthcare organizations, the quality of the services provided is of paramount importance as this field deals with the health and the well-being of human beings. The main objective of healthcare organizations is to ensure that there is improvement in their patients’ health and reduction of morbidity and mortality. These are ensured through active participation of all stakeholders in these organizations to ensure that the quality of the services provided is of high standards.
To accomplish this objective, organizations must have continued quality improvement programs that involve all stakeholders. Unlike quality assurance, quality improvement in the medical field focuses specifically on reducing medical errors and not on determining who is on the wrong or the kind of punishment such people should face.
Quality improvement should not be taken as a responsibility of a specific group of stakeholders in the organization (Berwick & Leappe, 1999, p.136). It is a responsibility of everyone involved. Therefore, when coming up with quality improvement strategies, all stakeholders must have roles to play. In healthcare organizations, stakeholders’ interests vary as each has different benefits from the organization. The key stakeholders include the providers, payers, employers, and patients (Berwick & Leappe, 1999, p.136).
All the stakeholders have varying definitions of care depending on one’s interest. The providers would want to provide high quality services that would ensure quick recovery on the patient’s health. The patient will also have the same interest as the provider. However, the employer and the payer (insurance company) would want services that are cost effective and fast in making the patient as productive as before. To resolve this conflict, all the stakeholders should come up with a quality improvement model that will give the best to all.
There are various models available for effective quality improvement in healthcare organizations. These include Focus, Analyze, Develop, Execute and Evaluate (FADE), PDSA and the six Sigma. All these models have been put into test but FADE proves to be the best when it comes to quality improvement. FADE focuses on identifying problems as they arise and coming up with a solution-finding process. After execution of this solution-finding process, result evaluation follows and depending on the outcome, the involved parties might implement them or decide to improve them further. The most common quality problems in the medical field involve overuse or underuse of services and misuse of other services (Raymond, Carey, & Lloyd, 1990, p.14).
At times, these problems result in medical errors that are fatal at times. Improvement in these areas ensures balance between the provided services to the patients and a great reduction of medical errors. For instance, when implementing the FADE model, the parties involved should determine the problem in question, brainstorm on the best way forward, and put into test the identified processes. To make this successful, the key players should participate actively.
Physicians and patients play the biggest role in ensuring the success of quality assurance. Patients, in most cases will complain or complement the type of services offered in a health facility. Sometimes they give suggestions that are of paramount importance in improving the facility’s standards. However, their suggestions, complaints, and complements might not be helpful if physicians do not put them in consideration.
Quality improvement calls for attentive and observant physicians. Physicians should pay attention to the patients’ suggestion. In addition, the physicians should be willing to take note of mistakes that have occurred in the past in order to improve on them. For instance, many physicians fail to administer the beta-blocker therapy before heart bypass surgery that results in high risk of mortality (Raymond, Carey, & Lloyd, 1990, p.46). If physicians realize this, they should come up with a plan to ensure that all patients undergoing heart bypass surgery first get the beta-blocker therapy. Although physicians and patients play a big role in quality improvement, active involvement of all stakeholders would be of great support for the success of this mission.
Quality improvement is of great importance in the healthcare industry. It ensures reduced morbidity and mortality. Many patients are protected from recurring sicknesses that makes them less productive. Similarly, physicians are protected from fatal medical errors that can cost them their jobs and sometimes freedom. Quality improvement in record keeping in health organization ensures that the patients’ records are always accessible when need be. Therefore, the physician will always put in to consideration the patients past history when carrying out diagnosis or prescribing drugs. With this, medical error cases become lesser and lesser.
Various organizations are involved in ensuring that healthcare organizations carry out continuous quality improvement. Most of these organizations are private. They however work in close relationship with the government to ensure that the appropriate measures are put in place for the well-being of all patients. Some of these organizations include American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance (AQA) among others.
AQA is the best example of an organization that requires active involvement of all stakeholders in ensuring quality services and the safety of the patients. The organisation comprises of physicians, patients, insurance companies and other relevant parties. They all come up with strategies to improve the quality of healthcare services through research and data collection. Meaningful outcomes are then given to all stakeholders who play their roles for continuous quality improvement.
The government puts great efforts in ensuring that the patient is protected from unnecessary medical errors. It is therefore a requirement for every healthcare organization to implement a continuous quality improvement program. For the effectiveness of the program, all stakeholders should participate actively.
Berwick, D., & Leape, L. (1999). Reducing Errors in Medicine. California: University of DuPage press.
Raymond, G., Carey, K., & Lloyd, R. (1990). Measuring Quality Improvement in Healthcare: A Guide to Statistical Process Control Applications. Wisconsin: sQuality Press.