The Industry of Health Care is one of the most significant industries around the world. The demand for measures to improve quality and safety is frequently present in health care. In this field, sometimes it is even more difficult than anywhere else due to constant challenges related to the well-being of humans. For this reason, there has been a growing necessity to have qualified specialists within medical organizations whose key function is to introduce, implement and support the quality of healthcare services provided to patients at any medical facility and time.
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Managing quality improvement operators pursue to upgrade service quality by implementing different programs. For medical facilities that want to provide excellent care and participate in the global market, selecting a quality management program to execute is vital for the productivity of their performance. The objective of the Quality Management Plan is to innovate the way doctors monitor the care that is provided to patients. Development is driven not only by state regulations but by growing competition and economic pressure as well. Quality management strives to enhance the effectiveness of a given treatment and ensure that the patient is satisfied with the service. A proper quality management plan can provide a working strategy for the execution of necessary changes.
Like any other complex process, quality management has several stages. At the planning stage, the problem that is needed to be addressed is defined by medical professionals. Then they gather and analyze relevant data, and determine the main cause of the problem. The next stage is the implementation phase when healthcare workers create and facilitate a solution. After that, they settle on the right measurement to check the effectiveness of the solution.
The following step is checking, where the results are collected by comparing before-and-after data. At the last stage, the outcomes are documented, and it is essential for medical workers to inform others about changes that occurred during the process. It is also desirable to make recommendations for the problem to be addressed later.
Administrating change is about managing the plan and the complexity of the procedure. It is not only planning and applying new challenges, activities, and tactics, but also guaranteeing that the implemented change is valuable and profitable. Active involvement of medical workers is a vital requirement for the implementation of the projected quality plan. However, while trying to execute the plan, managers can face a problem of rejection of the program by the staff. While a severe need for improvement in organization and providing services may be evident to supervisors, staff may see that premise as unnecessary and substantially incorrect.
In that case, it is crucial to communicate with the team to motivate them so that they would look at changes from a broader perspective. Proper communication helps to work on reasons that make medical workers resist changes, such as stress and uncertainty. Managers are to provide a foundation of the plan, the evidence for which is evident to the staff. The project should have a clear goal, should be initiated by medical professionals themselves, and be appropriately announced. In that way, the plan is more likely to be accepted by medical staff.
The time frame of plan implementation depends mainly on the commitment of leaders and staff. Moreover, it is vital that the medical facility is familiar with utilizing computerized reports, and the staff is experienced in matters of quality improvement. Quality plans often need resources and organizational changes that are impossible to be reasonably accomplished in a short time. This is why it is essential that such procedures are looked through a longer-term perspective.
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The implementation of a quality management plan can potentially take up to several months. Some projects may even be around for more than a year because they have ambitious goals with long time frames. Nevertheless, the facilitator of the plan must assist the team during this time to solve all the issues regarding the program. The quality management plan is not considered complete unless all units are implemented accordingly, and the team is more independent.
It is impossible to imagine any healthcare without various public and private data collection systems. Methods to collect data include health surveys, billing records, and medical records. Data management is the continuing systematic process of collecting, analyzing, and rendering different sorts of information from diverse sources. Most of the time, data collection is performed in order to accomplish research goals that help to understand a certain area of medical interest. Moreover, another reason to collect data is the necessity to build an evidence-based foundation for decision-making.
The sources of data for a quality management plan usually involve new information that was gathered from the patient, as well as already available information that was derived from the medical workers. Furthermore, the sources include medical records, and auxiliary storage of patient information, for example, previously conducted surveys and laboratory results. It goes without saying that having quick and open access to necessary improvement data would make functional decision making easier at the level of the single medical unit.
There are different means to collect and store medical data. Gordon and Richardson (2012) suggest using a dashboard to visualize vital work measures. They believe that “adopting the use of a quality data dashboard would be an excellent means of communicating information throughout the nursing unit and to other areas of the healthcare organization” (Gordon & Richardson, 2012). Moreover, not only can it ensure improved patient results, but it also can boost their satisfaction with the care, as well as enhance the performance of physicians and nursing staff. At the point of healthcare, transparent data visualization can make it more convenient for doctors and nurses to absorb information and use it accordingly.
However, it is necessary to remember that healthcare data is not static. Therefore, most elements of data will need relatively regular updates with the intention to remain accurate and relevant. The initial problem is data storage and its actualization.
For this reason, data providers must have a clear understanding of which databases need frequent updating. Besides, managing storage devices is another critical problem for medical facilities as sometimes front-line healthcare workers do not usually think about where their data is saved. Nevertheless, for the IT department, the cost of the equipment, its security, and its performance are important issues. For healthcare organizations, data security should be the question of absolute priority, especially while there is an apparent danger of sudden shutdowns, high profile breaches, and hackings.
As for analyzing the data, it is crucial to understand when the data was created, who is the author, and for what purpose the data was collected. Such information is essential for experts and data analysts. In their studies, Perkins, Grey, and Remmers (2014) elaborate on the topic of using the balanced scorecard, which is believed to be among the most effective methods in the matter of performance management. The researchers conclude by saying that the balanced scorecard (BSC) is a valuable instrument for analyzing data and performance. When BSC is applied in an adequate manner, it brings significant advantages for the organization.
However, they also note that “it must be understood that the BSC cannot be thought of as a miracle tool that will somehow improve the performance of a struggling firm” (Perkins, Grey, & Remmers, 2014). This instrument, preferably, must be considered as one element of an organized system, which assists in effectively managing work by providing visual answers for the question of performance. When the healthcare organization chooses a specific type of BSC for implementation in quality management, it must correspond to the needs of the program in order to ensure success.
The quality of healthcare is characterized by how fast and how efficient services are provided to patients at an affordable price. The outcome of a quality management program depends on the desired goals. For example, it can be focused on providing easier access to healthcare or improving the care of patients with specific conditions. The quality of care is a major priority, which demands fundamental changes in policy, education, and activities. It is not a simple duty to fulfill in a span of just a few weeks. Nevertheless, with the help of the attributes described above, any healthcare organization can focus on thorough quality development.
Gordon, J., & Richardson, E. (2012). Continuous improvement using balanced scorecards in healthcare. American Journal of Health Sciences, 3(3), 185-188.
Perkins, M., Grey, A., & Remmers, H. (2014). What do we really mean by “balanced scorecard”? International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 63(2), 148-169. Web.