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    How to improve quality in healthcare

    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 aspects of quality management:

    1. Determine the quality management objective
    2. Translate your data into improvement actions
    3. Work with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle
    4. Secure the results of your improvement action
    5. Employee training
    6. Support base among those involved
    7. Structure of a quality management system

    Determine the quality management objective

    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:

    • achieving organizational objectives;
    • improving patient/client satisfaction;
    • cost control by reducing avoidable errors;
    • increasing the effectiveness of the organization;
    • improving the service;
    • improving the safety culture and risk awareness;
    • providing insight into the performance at team and individual level

    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.

    Translate your data into 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.

    Important aspects of quality management
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    Work with the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

    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:

    • PLAN: PDCA cycleLook at your current workload and design a plan to improve it. Set goals for this improvement;
    • DO: Carry out the planned improvement in a controlled trial setting;
    • CHECK: Measure the result of the improvement, compare it to the original situation and test it against the set objectives;
    • ACT: Make adjustments on the basis of the results found under ‘CHECK’.

    Secure the results of your improvement action

    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.

    Doel Kwaliteitsmanagementsysteem
    What is the purpose of a Quality Management System?


    “Many healthcare organizations choose to digitally process quality indicators. Data is centrally available for realtime monitoring. So staff can take immediate action to improve".

    Succesvolle implementatie kwaliteitsmanagement
    Successful implementation of quality management?


    “The implementation of a digital quality management system entails a new working method. This can make acceptance by employees more difficult”.

    Quality management blogs:

     

    Employee training

    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.

    Support base among those involved

    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.

    • Quality control employee
      The employee (department) responsible for quality plays a central role in preparing and successfully implementing quality management. This role entails drawing up the plans, monitoring the frameworks and taking care of the communication with all other parties involved.
    • Manager executive department
      The manager is important in cultivating a culture within the executive department where people feel confident to report safety concerns. The manager will also have to make use of reports/dashboards that provide an overview of (near) incidents. Together with his team he will determine which improvement actions should be given priority.
    • Patients/clients
      Patients/clients need to know how they can contribute to quality and safety: where & how they can report something. This may concern matters that are actually observable, like incidents, but also less tangible matters that affect the customers’/patients’ perception. Stimulate customers/patients to give feedback by putting information on the website and engaging in conversations.
    • Employees
      In order to create support among employees, it is crucial to communicate about your objective. What is their role, how can they participate and what is the result of their contribution and other improvement actions? If their workplace has an open and safe culture, they will gladly contribute to improving safety and quality.
    • Management/C-level
      Senior management determines the quality management objectives and must make resources available to achieve these goals. Reports and dashboards from the quality management system help to inform management about the progress and to engage in discussions. Schedule periodical meetings so that the organization can make quick and necessary decisions.
    • Safety/Quality/Incidents Commission
      This commission oversees all the incidents and can make connections between different incidents within a team or across different departments. They can only do this work properly if they have the right reports and authority.
    • IT department
      The IT department creates the technical preconditions, so they have to be involved at an early stage. The security must meet the highest standards. The systems, uptime and performance must be monitored 24/7 so that rapid adjustments can be made in critical situations. If Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud is the preferred choice, the IT department will experience less of a burden. This also applies to the RiskSync software, where updates, backups and performance are no longer the focus of the IT department.

    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.

    Structure of a quality management system

    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.

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    Benefits TPSC CloudTM software

    With our software, a complete Quality and Risk Management platform is ready for you.

    1

    Flexible platform

    Access anytime, anywhere, securely managed in the cloud. Flexible and scalable to organize due to the modular structure. With many options to adjust each part to your own needs.

    2

    Easy implementation

    Quick and easy to set up. Due to the user-friendly design, no programming knowledge is required for the implementation. Our consultants are ready to help with your configuration.

    3

    Low cost

    Our software is a cost-efficient solution for quality and risk management, because many of the building blocks have already been made for you! Suitable for both small and large organizations.

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