Health policymakers and administrators worldwide reaffirm a global commitment to achieving universal health coverage. They aim to improve healthcare quality and service delivery for people across different communities and regions worldwide. They want to ease access for every individual without putting any financial burden by providing promotive, rehabilitative, palliative, curative, and preventive care.
The healthcare industry is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors globally. Allocation of enormous budgets, developing technology, and advanced knowledge contribute to its rapid growth. But despite these services being more adept now than ever before, healthcare systems and processes still have margins for improvement. Even though a significant portion of a country’s annual budget goes towards healthcare, not everyone receives equal quality care or access to basic facilities. The high costs for treatment and diagnosis, frequency of malpractice cases, and more people with health insurance have brought forth the need to improve quality care. Studies have shown that substandard care fails to improve population health, wastes significant resources, reduces productivity, and destroys human capital. Therefore, besides ensuring healthier societies, enhancing healthcare services also guarantees healthier economies and prosperous communities.
While hospital administrators and healthcare providers recognize the need to improve patient experience, transforming the system comes with its own challenges. For efficient and rapid development of streamlined healthcare operations, follow these six ways to enhance your organization’s quality of healthcare and service delivery.
1. Build a balanced team
Increasing complexities of health care and diseases require professionals from various fields with different backgrounds and varying skills and expertise. Besides clinical professionals, healthcare facilities also need administrative leaders who can guide a team of individuals to improve quality care. Enrolling in online MHA programs can provide professionals with the relevant knowledge and experience to change the healthcare system. Without a strong leader to guide its team through streamlining operations, the system is bound to collapse before it can stand on its feet.
Additionally, healthcare practices where doctors or health practitioners could solely deliver care to their patients have become obsolete. The evolution in medical services necessitates parallel consultancy with other health professionals by implementing a teamwork approach comprising several specialized experts.
2. Focus on microsystems
A helpful strategy for improving healthcare is to approach the process by imagining it as a group of interconnected microsystems. In healthcare, the microsystem refers to all the different professionals involved in delivering care daily. These include healthcare providers, administrators, and caregivers, among many others. A successful organization focuses its energy on these small functional units to carry out its core activities directly involved with patient interaction. The primary aim of this approach is to concentrate efforts on small, replicable, and doable tasks that allow health workers to provide efficient and high-quality care to patients.
Every system must be timely, effective, and efficient for all patients, regardless of their background. Microsystems for each organization may vary, so it’s essential to identify one that works best for your corporation. Once identified, plan and select the appropriate units for each task to improve processes and evaluate progress.
3. Collect and analyze patient data
One of the best ways to improve quality care in your organization is to collect and analyze current data to identify areas of improvement. Having tangible, hard evidence in your hands makes it much easier to plan and design strategies that can enhance its efficiency. Besides studying patient outcomes, you must also examine the daily operations of your organizations to understand and recognize opportunities where they exist.
By establishing a baseline for consumer outcomes, start monitoring trends and progress of each patient’s data. There is no limit to where you can get your information in today’s world. Use patient satisfaction surveys, outcome studies, and EHRs to track overall well-being, health, and costs for each individual throughout their visit under your care.
4. Establish goals
After analyzing patient data and identifying areas where you can improve, it is time to work towards establishing goals that will help you achieve success. These goals must be concrete, precise, and measurable, and must cater to those operations that need the most attention and improvement. Although the aims and objectives for every organization will vary depending on its patient demographic and resources, here are a few goals that can help you establish your own.
- Improving patient experience
- Improving the overall health of the population
- Reducing healthcare costs and making it more accessible to a larger group of people
- Enhancing the work experience of healthcare providers
5. Implement an improvement cycle
Quality improvement is a continuous process, not a one-time thing. With every new change you implement, there will be challenges and issues to address. Some strategies may work right away, while others may require you to eliminate them. Instead of staying rigid with ta newly-formed policy, learn from experiences and try new interventions when needed. This practice ensures continual improvement towards achieving your goals and establishing a high-quality system.
Improvement models implement the PDSA cycle, which constitutes of four parts:
Plan: Investigate areas of potential interventions and create teams that help establish these goals
Do: Implement your plan of action
Study: Monitor and track the outcomes of your intervention to identify its success, failure, and areas of improvement
Act: Reassess all the steps and integrate what you have learned during the entire process to reformulate interventions and alternate initiatives
6. Improve access to care
A major lacking in most healthcare systems is patients’ inability to access the right healthcare services at the right time. The uninsured population often has to receive primary care at high costs and lower-value services. Because of this, people are often hesitant to seek care and let an easily curable health issue fester until it becomes too complex and untreatable. Therefore, to improve services for patients from all sorts of backgrounds, healthcare facilities must work to improve access to the care they provide. The primary objective of the healthcare industry is to be there for people whenever they need assistance. But forcing them to jump through hoops and bureaucratic tape, we fail at the most fundamental piece of the relationship.
The foundation of every healthcare system is a complex network of care procedures and pathways. While its core objective is simple, to provide high-quality care to patients across the globe, it doesn’t always work that way. How well this system provides quality care largely depends on its operations’ efficiency and the people who work together to provide patient care. When done correctly, quality improvement in healthcare can drive productivity, enhance patient outcomes, and produce prosperous societies with better health and well-being.