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Quality management is becoming increasingly important for your organization. In addition to your customers and employees, government agencies and shareholders will also request to see tangible improvements and safety and quality guarantees.
How do you manage the improvement actions in your organization and how do you make sure that they contribute to more safety and quality? For more than 15 years, The Patient Safety Company has been helping organizations worldwide with quality management software. A flexible solution to register and analyze (near) incidents, up to the automation of improvement actions.
Next, we will discuss several important elements of quality management:
A quality management system provides more insight into the number of avoidable errors, which means that you can focus on improvements. The implementation of a system like this can contribute to a wide range of objectives:
Together with management you determine what the most important objective is and how to make it measurable. Do not forget to communicate this objective to your employees and regularly report on the progress of the improvement actions.
We know from calamity studies that these are often caused by a series of events, also known as (near) incidents. When organizations do not look at the (near) incidents, opportunities for improvement remain unused, because they provide a lot of information about the weak links in a process.
By centrally registering all your (near) incidents in a quality management system, you will ultimately have enough data. This way you can discover trends, such as which type of incidents are more common. These trends are input for an in-depth incident analysis into how to improve safety.
This is interesting management information, to be used when deciding which improvements to prioritize. When managers distribute reports, they become aware of the risks within the organization. They are challenged to do things better/differently in their department by making more time, money, people or material available.
Read more about the options to learn and improve with our software in your organization.
In order to actually realize improvements, it is important to use a structured approach for your improvement steps: the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle is a widely used approach.
The PDCA cycle consists of four components, which apply to all improvements within organizations and should ensure better quality. The cyclical character emphasizes that quality improvement must be a continuous process that requires continuous attention.
The four components according to the PDCA cycle:
Provide a central and digital registration of your improvement actions. In this way improvements in certain departments can easily be adopted by other departments. This not only increases efficiency, but also immediately addresses safety in the workplace. This process would be much more complicated if incidents were kept in a file or on one of the managers’ computers.
The quality control employee and operational manager have an important task when it comes to guaranteeing safety. If they have discussions about the improvement actions on a regular basis, they will soon find out what works and what doesn't or what needs more attention. This means more control of improvements and ultimately an increase of productivity and safety. A timely follow-up with those involved and clear communication about improvements will contribute to a good culture of improvement.
Make sure you set a deadline with your team for implementing the improvement action. And schedule an evaluation shortly afterwards. By discussing the new experiences with each other, you can rapidly adjust a new procedure if necessary. Also record these learnings in the file of the improvement action, so other departments that also want to implement this improvement action can take it into account.
By discussing an incident with everyone involved, one 'learns' that incidents can happen to anyone. Bringing this up for discussion contributes to more safety in the workplace. By bundling the insights and experience of multiple people, you get a good idea of what the cause is and possible areas of improvement.
Incidents and improvement actions should not only be discussed within a particular department, but also with other departments. Otherwise you get into situations where other colleagues cause the same kind of incidents at a later time. As a 'learning' organization you can prevent this and actually guarantee the improvement of quality in your processes.
It is important that employees become aware of unconscious behavior. A good example for instance is the audit on the preparation and administration of high-risk, parenteral medication. During the audit they found out that many nurses didn’t know the worksheet had to be disinfected during the preparation. They were not aware that they were working unsafely. This old behavior must be unlearned and a new behavior must be learned.
It is important for a manager to pay attention to the professional and personal development of employees. At team level we are talking about collective competencies, such as cooperation, feedback and communication. E-learning can also be developed and used to test whether employees have the necessary skills. The advantage of e-learning (and correct documentation of procedures) is that new employees are being trained faster and contribute to more safety and quality.
Make sure that you communicate new or changed procedures directly to everyone in the team and those involved. Use all possible channels, such as e-mail, intranet notifications and staff meetings.
The implementation of a digital quality management system affects all levels in an organization. For successful implementation it is important to be supported by every group and to engage them early in the process.
Overview ready-made applications:
We have various ready-made applications for quality management. You can quickly start using these applications and adapt them to the specific situation in your organization.
A digital quality management system makes it possible for companies to combine all activities aimed at improving quality and safety in one place. So that the organization knows who takes which actions and when. This provides direct tools for exposing and tackling the risks in an integrated manner.
When reporting incidents digitally, you have a good overview of the basic causes of incidents and the types of incidents that occur. The nature and type of the report is automatically registered. By reporting as many (near) incidents as possible, you will set up a valuable database overtime. You can use this database to identify trends, and plan and monitor improvement actions.
The automation of processes simultaneously increases effectiveness/productivity. With more attention for automation and safety, your internal processes and the quality of the end product will also improve. Reports on incidents and complaints provide insight into how the processes can be improved.
Is your organization about to make the transition from paper to digital work? Or does the organization have a digital quality management system they want to replace? In both cases the best advice is to make a business case. Download our eBook for help with your business case.