The healthcare industry can significantly improve in a variety of ways if a handful of important principles are adopted. Specifically, there are a number of common healthcare processes that have vast room for improvement. Finding principles of quality improvement in healthcare should be a priority.
Focus on Actual Care Processes Rather Than Personnel
Healthcare management is all about juggling and perfecting the actual processes of care. Too many healthcare administrators and executives get caught up in their desire to manage doctors and their support staff. For the most part, physicians and nurses already know what to do. The key is to create a work environment that is engaging. When caregivers are involved in the creation and refining of care processes, they feel empowered to contribute unique insights that will eventually boost the quality of those processes.
Data is Critical to Successful Healthcare Management
Quality improvement can only occur when problems can be defined and/or quantified. This means that a considerable amount of data is necessary to fully understand how processes currently operate and how they are flawed. Most healthcare organizations do not want to work with others if there is a shortage of data or flawed data. Accurate data allows healthcare managers to study their inefficiencies and develop creative solutions that genuinely improve quality. Furthermore, clinicians must be provided with the proper data in a timely manner. If pertinent data is not at the disposal of caregivers, they will have a difficult time managing both what is happening with patients but also what is happening in the organization as a whole. Successful processes are all about organization and efficiency.
A Narrowed Focus on Process Management
The principles of quality improvement in healthcare start with the effective management of processes. Contemporary healthcare organizations must solve highly complex problems with incredible efficiency. The approaches that these companies take goes a long way in determining their success. While some healthcare institutions rely on antiquated management methods, those that have made an effort to implement contemporary quality improvement concepts have reaped the benefits. The healthcare industry is not getting any simpler as time progresses. Yet neither are any other industries and most of them have seamlessly adjusted as technology has improved.
Healthcare administrators must understand the importance of handling processes one at a time and refining them until perfected. While this might seem like micromanagement, it is necessary to create the fundamental changes that the industry desperately needs. The most daunting processes are often the most important as they can have a domino effect on others. The key is to admit that these challenges exist and then tackle the most important ones first.
Front-line Employees Should be Treated as More Than “Cogs in the Machine”
Those who actually administer care processes on the front lines must be engaged with their work. They should treat the opportunity to provide care as an honorable duty. If they feel bogged down by inefficient processes, red tape and poorly crafted policies, they will eventually become demoralized or disengaged with their work. Physicians and nurses need some freedom to operate in a somewhat idiosyncratic manner. Faulty processes can severely limit clinicians’ “range” in the workplace. These individuals must fully comprehend healthcare processes and implement them in a flawless manner. If they are treated like cogs in the machine, they will not be able to reach their true potential or offer meaningful input into the continued development of healthcare processes. These are highly skilled and uber-talented individuals who deserve a say in how healthcare processes are improved for a better future.
Rely on Clinical Teams to Organize Information and Build a Consensus
The proper organization of information will go a long way in improving healthcare processes. When clinical teams are presented with highly organized information, they tend to operate much more efficiently. Personnel should be able to view information that is relevant to the overarching organization as well as their unique niches. Yet this is a challenge that is easier to talk about than actually meet. Healthcare organizations that implement precise methods to measure productivity, will be empowered to evaluate processes and further refine those processes for the ultimate efficiency. Highly organized data will reveal important insights as to how work gets done, why problems occur and what can be done to improve these processes.
After all is said and done, the principles of quality improvement in healthcare can be made a priority within any organization, and will benefit everyone that seeks medical help or that provides that help. None of this will happen over night, but can be implemented with support from everyone involved.