Healthcare Quality Methods

Healthcare organizations can employ different health care methods for quality improvement. Since healthcare is not a simple phenomenon, industries find it hard to adopt the controls and standardization of quality improvement methods. However, general methods that define quality, grow improvement measures and identify variation through PDSA cycles and control charts have been successful in the application of healthcare processes. Let’s take a look at some healthcare quality improvement methods.

#1: Facilitate Adoption

It’s not enough to introduce new ideas to clinicians and discuss case studies. The reason is that it won’t motivate them to follow the improvement initiatives. It’s better to learn the quality improvement theory via hands-on improvement work. In other words, it’s applied to the real clinical setting. Also, identifying important areas for clinicians and develop the platform for betterment can help make the adoption much easier.

#2: Defining Quality & Reaching an Agreement

If we agree on what quality means in a certain context, we can establish the measures and then collect data based on them. Also, the Institute of Medicine made a quality framework based on 6 aims for the systems for healthcare. However, the most important of them is the one that is patient-oriented. In other words, it stresses the provision of care based on the values and needs of an individual patient. Also, it ensures that the clinical decisions are made based on the patient’s values.

The definition of quality refers to what the patient thinks is important. It’s to make sure that the patient is getting the best care possible for their illness.

#3: Improvement and Accountability

Both data and measurement make the backbone for quality improvement. This is the point where it’s difficult to take care of the matters associated with healthcare. Typically, when it comes to quality improvement methods, clinicians think that they involve performance measures that require accountability. However, it’s important to remember the difference between accountability measures and improvement measures.

Typically, the accountability measures are processed to get percentages. An accountability measure, for instance, gathers data about the number of ER patients who had to hang on for over 30 minutes for their turn. And then management is asked to keep the waiting time below half an hour. So, the improvement measure figures out the actual waiting period in minutes in order to find out the system performance and them improve it.

#4: PDSA Cycles and Quality Improvement Framework

For healthcare quality improvement, many frameworks are used:

The DMAIC model of Six Sigma
Lean methodology
The Model of Improvement was designed by the API in 1987
PDSA cycles are the most important part of healthcare quality improvement

Given below is the explanation of the PDSA cycles:


#5 Variation in Data

With a deeper insight into the Mode for Improvement, the plan can help you achieve your improvement goal. Some of this insight comes from getting to know the variation in data and its causes.

Also, healthcare processes include two types of variations: intended and unintended. The intended variation refers to do something in a different way on purpose. And this defines patient-oriented care.

On the other hand, unintended variation happens when many clinicians prescribe different types of antibiotics for a problem at hand regardless of the rationale of the variation. And an out of habit or a free of thought variation is called an unintended variation.