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Tools to help improve Quality Management of a Hospital

Quality in Healthcare involves complying to the standards and delivering the services in a congenial environment keeping the patient/recipient satisfaction in mind. Quality Management in hospitals refers to the processes that are done to help maintain these standards and provide affordable care to the patients 

In a webinar conducted by MedPiper Technologies and JournoMed on Quality Management and Accreditation in hospitals, the distinguished speaker, Mr. Fareed Uddin Syed spoke about the various quality tools used to measure the parts of management in a hospital or healthcare organisation. 

One of the key steps in quality management is to eliminate any kind of waste or inefficient system that is not beneficial to the organization through practicing Kaizen or Continuous Quality Improvement. Kaizen is a Japanese term that means change for good. Three Japanese terms namely Mudi –Obstruction to flow, Muda- Inconsistency and Mura– Physical burden on people and equipment reducing efficiency indicate the kind of wastes that need to be eliminated in a healthcare organisation. The hospital administrators need to identify what kind of waste is seen in the hospital, in order to eliminate it. 

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Why is quality culture important? 

After eliminating the waste, it is important to assess the organisation’s existing culture and the current state that it is in. The existing culture should be looked at meticulously and not assumed. The respective authorities should then define the organisation’s values, beliefs, behaviours, norms, attitudes and thoughts, thus setting up the future of the organisation. A gap analysis should be conducted as it will give an idea about what are the processes required to achieve said goals. This can also involve obtaining a consensus and feedback from the people of the workplace. 

From the gap analysis, strategic fronts to reach those goals can be developed along with a 2-year project plan. The new strategies should be implemented in order to adhere to the vision, mission, values, goals, plans, measures and processes to reach the new culture. Mr. Syed even explained the how the implementation should be enforced at all levels of the organisation:

  • Top Management – align the words and actions with new culture and lead the way. 
  • Middle Management – Act, direct and expect in accordance with the new culture
  • Provide Quality Awareness Training – Teach people on how to act on a daily basis and tell them why they need to act that way 
  • Everyone should start acting as if there was quality culture
  • Reward behaviours aligned with the new culture and discourage behaviours not in alignment. 
  • Hire people that have worked within a culture of quality and ask them to teach, mentor, and lead. 
  • Maintain consistency of purpose – use PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) to continuously improve and keep moving forward. 

Quality tools used in Quality Management

Quality tools are used to measure the quality and the management strategies in the hospital in order to increase efficiency. Most of these tools use traditional statistical calculations and methods to determine the parameters. Some of the commonly used tools for quality management are as follows: 

    1. PDCA and checklist as a model for Continuous Quality Improvement: This method is helpful to start an improvement project, implement any change and design a new process/service
    2. Fishbone-Cause and Effect Diagram: This a non-statistical method that looks like a fish skeleton (also known as the Ishikawa Diagram) This method is helpful to map out a company’s process/problem to get a better understanding of the situations. 
    3. A Process mapping or a flow chart: This is a visual representation of the operational sequence required to complete a task. This method helps to understand the documentation, the weaknesses, duplicated effort and non-value added time of a given task.
    4. Gantt Chart: A Bar Chart that informs about the various tasks of a process. It even explains when each task takes place, how long it will take to complete it, who the people assigned are, and the progress towards completion.
    5. Pareto Chart: The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the problems are ensured by 20% of the factors or causes. By concentrating on 20% of the factors, managers can attack 80% of the problems. The 80-20 rule helps to select the “vital few” from “useful many” for further action
    6. Histogram: A histogram indicates a frequency distribution and how many times different values have occurred in a set of data. This tool makes it easier to conclude and initiate action for certain strategies. 

The various parameters of the strategies and where and all the strategies were implemented in the hospital can then be consolidated into a check sheet. This check sheet indicates the progress and whether the changes made have benefitted the organization. Based on this information, hospital administrators can adjust and tweak the policies in order to ensure better hospital outcomes. 

Author: Parvathi Nair

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