Any healthcare organization is a complex one. This is by nature owing to the outcome of service and plenty of diverse professionals around. Quality management in healthcare is thus a critical need in the field of healthcare. Health care is a very complex sector and the delivery of service is fragmented care. Quality can be a common paradigm to address the need of all groups in health care. Quality improvement is the process approach to the organization’s operational challenges. The Initiative to address the quality in health care has become a global phenomenon. A quality revolution for delivery of service with patients at the center and services around it is the demand of the time. This article comprehensively reviews the quality management in health care service and aims to sensitize the health care professionals towards achieving total quality.
When talking about the principles of quality in the field of healthcare, they have been quite implicit. But quality as a term by itself is not a physical service. When we use the term “health care” service, and not “medical care”, it further defines the field and places it as an entity that can be improved upon, assessed and monitored as well.
Thus, quality management in healthcare systems can be called as one which is easily accessible. It should be apt and available, and even affordable and effective, efficient too along with being integrated and safe, and patient-related as well. Practitioners are the ones that deliver allied healthcare services, such as midwifery, dentistry, medicine, obstetrics, nursing and optometry, psychology and pharmacy, and more.
Talking about quality management
It is a wide term when we talk about “quality management”. In the beginning, it was thought that quality management was perceived as telling the healthcare personnel what they need to do. It meant that one would refer it to the individual by observing the organizational functions, procedures and processes interaction, which can be addressed collectively and individually. Since then, many models have come and gone, back and forth, but the triad structure concept of the same and the process and outcome as proposed by experts remains as the foundation of quality assessment these days.
Quality management has grown in leaps and bounds, in this day and age. Much more fierce than ever before, especially with the quality of patient satisfaction and the service outcome one gets these days, say, experts. It is highly crucial as to how well the quality of services are being provided to the patients these days.
In the past, quality management aimed at recognizing and working on defect detection. Nowadays, it aims at how to deal with defect prevention and process improvement, and the needs of a patient as well. Hence, there is a need to bring about a paradigm shift in health care delivery quality too, say experts.
Quality management as a part of overall management
Quality management these days is all about the entire management system. Right from achieving and maintaining to improving product and service quality as well. Any activity in an organization would affect quality in more ways than one. Hence, quality management must have all aspects involved- leading, planning, organizing and even controlling.
Experts say, with quality management, one should understand that quality should be an integral part of all other functions. It needs to be focused, coordinated and organized. Shared values and culture should be expressed as policies and objectives, and goals. With quality management, there is clear tasks given and deployment of responsibilities too for various aspects of it, is worked upon- it is everybody’s job. Finally, all the procedures and the policies should be aligned with the goals of quality management- helps achieve and maintain and improve quality.
Essential elements related to quality management
There should be principles in place for quality management in health management that form the core elements and should have supportive elements that sustain them as well. Some of the guiding principles, experts say are-
- With good planning and design, the quality of services and products emanate
- Quality needs to be controlled and measured
- If there are any deficiencies, it needs to be corrected, and the issues thereby need to be solved.
- Improvement of quality services and products should be ongoing.
A supportive base is needed for the implementation of this framework, say experts. Such as-
- Within the organization, quality culture should be internalized
- There should be to facilitate implementation of quality an effective organization
- There should be adequate and enough resources, and
- Expertise and skills should be used in quality management tools and methods.
In short, the above elements mentioned are interdependent and interrelated of each other and to each other. Every element is an important aspect of the continuum, and it contributes to achieving and maintaining and even improving quality too.
For any product or service to succeed, it needs to a large extent a good design. Apart from the product, the system of production, and the quality management needs to be designed properly, say experts. Other than that, there are two other requirements that are important- measurement and even control.
When the specifications of quality are in place, it provides enough of feedback for improvement. Much of the improvement would be about design improvement and better control. And by finding solutions to the problems in hand, quality can be worked upon as well. These can be lessons learned and applied for future use too, to enhance the design.
Also, there is an urgent need to encourage and develop a cultural environment that helps promote quality. Proper support and organization, is a must for all such initiatives to succeed, say experts.
Healthcare services need process improvement
When we talk about safety and quality in health care and management in healthcare, we speak about improving patient satisfaction and experience. This means, one must have purposeful quality enhancements which should be done overall to the entailed functions and with the main aim of improving patient experience as well. The management in healthcare and the hospital at large should give emphasis to all employees as well, and to the facilities in healthcare too- their practical needs and the patients aspirations and the relatives aspirations too. Since the staff and the management in healthcare interact directly with clients, the focus should thus be on improving the process.
The throughput time
Quality in management in healthcare is impossible if the throughput time is not managed properly. In healthcare sectors, what throughput time means is the overall time which is needed to perform relevant therapeutic functions, timely and perfectly. This should be done, so that patients are kept comfortable when they come for outpatient visits or even for routine check-ups, say experts. This will help fix the credibility of the hospital at large and there would be more trust and faith in the healthcare management system too.
So here was a deep understanding about the importance of comprehensive quality management in healthcare. Do write in and let us know your thoughts.
Stay safe, stay healthy!