«Quality Management in Healthcare» - Free Essay Paper

Quality Management in Healthcare

Quality services are the center of focus for many healthcare facilities. In recent years, quality care has been a predominant issue in patients' lives. When looking for health care services, patients tend to increasingly pay attention to the quality offered which requires the medical institutions to focus on the patient-centeredness of medical services. This type of services goes beyond mere clinical experience, thus being multidimensional. Patients report greater satisfaction in settings where the care is centered on their needs. As such, today quality management in healthcare is driven by the patient experience and satisfaction. Therefore, measuring "Patient-Centeredness" is an ideal approach to evaluating the performance of healthcare systems

Quality Is Delineated by Health Outcomes and Patient Perception

Patient/Provider Relationship

The patient-provider relationship continues to be the core of quality care services. This relationship goes beyond clinical encounters to other type of relationships established outside the healthcare setting (Stavropoulou, 2012). As such, policymakers recognize the importance of such relationship established between the patients and healthcare providers. When consulting the patient and making a treatment plan, healthcare providers should talk with the patients to create a sense of ownership. In situations where the healthcare providers establish a healthy relationship with the patient, they tend to be in a better position to understand the patient needs and educate the patient on various aspects concerning the patient’s state of health, which ultimately leads to the provision of better quality services and improved client satisfaction.

Accessibility/Efficiency of Care

Though providers establish healthy relationships with their patients, the quality of care would not improve if the services are not readily available and efficient. Efficient care is patient-centered, being easily accessible and ensuring that patients are able to access the care wherever and whenever they want and need it. Efficient care eliminates redundancies, medical errors as well as the use of inappropriate services (Rittenhouse, Thom, & Schmittdiel, 2010). Moreover, to guarantee patient-centered services, healthcare facilities must guarantee easy access to the services for all patients whenever and wherever they require medical assistance. Though care settings and care providers try to make services accessible to patients with chronic illnesses, there is a need to adopt an integrated model that woud make these services available to all patients when such need arises. 

Effectiveness of Care

The quality of care also depends on the efficacy of the care provided. Patients visit healthcare institutions to receive medical attention for various conditions. Adequate care, therefore, is aimed at achieving the desirable results by addressing the patient's conditions. Healthcare facilities, therefore, need to put in place measures to minimize medical errors, promote correct diagnosis and also ensure that the medical personnel reduces the risks to patients’ wellbeing, thereby guaranteeing patient safety (Patient Safety, Risk, and Quality, n.d.). Therefore, it is necessary for policymakers in care facilities to establish policies that work towards minimizing risks and promoting the effectiveness of services offered in healthcare facilities.

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Cost Containment

At the center of quality care is the cost-effectiveness of the medical services. Healthcare providers and relevant facilities might be working hard to deliver efficient and effective care; nevertheless, if the care provided is not cost-effective, the patient will not afford the services. In this case, all the effort will be useless if the patients cannot afford the access to medical care. There are many ways through which the care cost can be reduced. One of them is empowering the patients with knowledge based on scientific and clinical expertise together with their expected outcomes (Cosgrove, 2013). Besides, adopting the team-based care, creating the care service, being innovative in care provision and targeting the needs of the patient, their family as well as the community all help contain the cost of services. Empowered patients are more likely to manage conditions at home, thus reducing the frequency of hospitalization cases. They are also more liable to choose cheaper and efficient care options compared to their uneducated counterparts. Quality care is, therefore, patient-centered, being focused on the positive relationship between patients and providers along with the effective and efficient patient care, and also containing costs associated with the patient treatment.

 
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Effective Leadership to Meet Organizational Goals

Strategic Planning

In the provision of quality care, the management plays a critical role. This care not only requires the input of service providers but also strategic planning on behalf of the management. Strategic forecasting is an integral component of leadership. Consequently, leaders must formulate the goal of health care provision (Beckham, 2016). Additionally, they should address the issues affecting the quality of care in the healthcare setting and come up with strategies to deal with such problems. In the healthcare setting, a strategic plan must define, develop and sustain the value advantage, lead to meaningful differentiation, focus on resource allocation, and facilitate the personal development and commitment among the staff members. Strategic planning should start with the questions on the efficiency of services. It should start with an assessment of the current situation in the facility and move towards developing solutions in the short-term and long-term perspective. When developing the plan, however, the management must involve players from all segments by creating room for collaboration. The management must also ensure that the staff feels respected by engaging them in making decisions that could affect their work. Strategical planning, therefore, is meant to assess the current situation, come up with solutions and facilitate collaboration between the leaders and their subordinates.

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Coordination

Management cannot be effective without coordination. Whichever type of leadership the top management adopts, it must facilitate coordination between the various departments in the healthcare setting. Coordination requires the input of all players involved in healthcare service provision.

Collaboration. The nature of healthcare settings calls for collaboration between the management and their subordinates and also between the health care providers from different departments and disciplines (Mosadeghrad, 2012). However, as hospital systems and networks become more and more integrated, the management continually faces challenges in terms of how to facilitate collaboration between the various players. In these conditions, however, ultimate success does not depend on the success of one team but rather on the achievements of all teams involved. Integration of teams, including the healthcare providers, the IT team, the finance team and other relevant teams, requires the management to create a culture of collaboration and effective communication. Achieving this partnership requires individuals to understand and appreciate the role they play in the given setting. Secondly, it calls for the person to understand the important role played by other staff and finally recognize the importance of teamwork in facilitating the provision of quality services. Fostering collaboration requires the establishment of partnership and involvement of the subordinates in the decision-making process.

Cooperation. As a result of coordination, the cooperation between the parties involved can be achieved. Cooperation and collaboration have a close relationship. In healthcare settings, services are a result of cooperation between health care providers and patients in an enabling environment provided by the facility management. Creating this enabling environment requires a particular type of leadership that would be capable of transforming both the physical environment and the beliefs and practices of healthcare providers (Cosgrove,2013). Therefore, they need to adopt leadership styles that would be aimed at reaching this transformation. Such a technique requires the cooperation between the management and their subordinates. Hence, leaders need to establish healthy relationships within their teams; there are likely to influence them positively thereby leading the teams towards the achievement of the set goals. By fostering cooperation, those occupying the management positions need to continually include their subordinates in the decision-making process. They should consult them and see to it that the staff's opinion is considered. In such a setting, the employees feel that they matter and are likely to reciprocate by performing their duties better. In doing so, they cooperate with the management on decisions facilitating the provision of effective and efficient care services.

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Emotional Intelligence. As healthcare facilities strive to move towards the provision of patient-centered services, the role of emotional intelligence in reaching better care services outcomes and achieving overall organizational success becomes evident. Patient-centered services are not all about the new models of service delivery; they are more about the relationships between patients and health facility workers (Warren, 2013). In this way, individual's behavior affects the outcome of services offered. Hospital administration should take into account the wishes and preferences of their subordinates. They need to be focused on completing tasks and achieving results to the extent that they could forget the emotional requirements of the workers. As such, emotionally intelligent leaders are empathetic, compassionate and having a high level of self-awareness. They must be able to see the bigger picture in every situation and facilitate collaboration between the various teams while at the same time focusing on the patients as individuals rather than just concentrating on the outcomes.  

Create Measurable Goals

Benchmarking

Achieving patient-centered health services is a continuous process. At the center of this process is setting of goals that should be achieved as a result of the change process. Benchmarking is one of the methods used for establishing the best practices in a healthcare setting (Ettorchi-Tardy, Levif, & Michel, 2012). Initially, this process involved comparing services in different settings and identifying disparities. It then expanded to a deeper analysis of the factors that lead to the existing differences. Nowadays, benchmarking requires the consideration of levels of patient satisfaction (Ettorchi-Tardy, et al., 2012). In benchmarking, therefore, healthcare facilities should move beyond their performance in comparison with others to include qualitative analysis of the care quality and the factors that bring about disparities. In a healthcare setting, benchmarking should involve the comparison of the indicators with the desired practices, the identification of differences through visits to different organizations, implementation of new methods necessary for reaching the desired results and monitoring the signs. The benchmarking process requires strategic planningas the facility must first formulate the objectives to be benchmarked. Facilities should then pinpoint benchmarking allies as well as gather and evaluate internal data. Afterwards, they should compare the existing data with the data of the benchmarking partner, set future objectives based on this analysis and come up with a plan. They must then implement the program and keep monitoring the progress.

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Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction is at the core of quality services. In the healthcare setting, unfortunately, the providers are always doing more using the same resources. Consequently, it is imperative to design specific models to improve the quality of care and foster efficiency of health care provision. When moving towards patient satisfaction, the facility must ensure that that management supports the initiatives towards the provision of quality care, as well as guarantee that these activities align with the strategies and goals of the organization and assess the current situation to identify loopholes and eliminate the threat of resource duplication (LaVela, 2014). Quality services need to be streamlined, with little wait time and capable of achieving the intended purpose. Patient satisfaction does not only reflect the clinical experiences and the expected outcomes as other issues need to be considered as well. Therefore, to evaluate whether the goals on the way to this achievement are met, one should utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods. One way is measuring the time clients spend from the time they enter the facility to the time they exit. Also, the management can adopt questioners encouraging patients to give feedback on their experiences.

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Organizational Development

Tools to Improve or Refine the Process

The nature of healthcare settings necessitates collaboration between the health care providers and patients. It also implies the coordination between interdisciplinary care providers and between the management and employees. Therefore, it is critical to streamline service delivery by utilizing tools to refine and simplify the process.

Electronic Health Records. EHR is one of the most effective ways of establishing an effective clinical workflow (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). This system is essential for gathering patient information and storing patient history. It guarantees the fast retrieval of patient’s information facilitating the decision-making process. The system also facilitates information sharing between different practitioners. EHR can be used together with other systems to aid in clinical decision-making. When using this system, however, strategies must be developed to ensure that information is not accessed by the undesirable person.

Communication. Communication is critical in the provision of quality services. Communication in healthcare is the backbone of quality services (Stavropoulou, 2012). Therefore, care providers must learn and practice efficient communication techniques to interact with patients with greater success. Additionally, health facilities should put in place systems that ease the communication process. Also, in the course of interpersonal communication, the care provides must recognize the diversity among patients to convey their messages effectively. Since different clinical situations call for different communicative skills, care providers must acquire relevant knowledge on this matter.

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Use of Committees. In providing quality services, care providers must uphold ethical behavior. However, time and ethical concerns present a challenge once again. In such situations, care facilities should make use of committees to address unethical conducts (Hajibabaee, Joolaee, Cheraghi, Salari & Rodney, 2016). These panels usually comprise of individuals appointed by the facility to debate, study and take action in case of unethical behavior. Other than solving arising challenges, such committees also offer regular ethical training to the staff thereby promoting ethical behavior in the healthcare setting.

Evaluation of the Process

In recent past, the provision of quality care has become a priority. As such, health facilities continue to put in place measures to guarantee quality care services. Evaluation of the process success depends on patient experience (LaVela, 2014). Therefore, care facilities should try and measure patient experience. An essential component of a successful plan necessary for improving patients' experience is making sure that the items measured mirror what is important to the patients (LaVela, 2014). When evaluating the success of the process, therefore, facilities should examine whether patient satisfaction has increased while the wait times have been reduced. They should also consider the effectiveness of the process of service provision against the desired best practices. The assessment should also be carried out in regard to any changes in patient perception, participation, and preferences. Collecting the data for this process requires utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. The management can make use of the structured and open-ended questionnaires as well as ethnographic approaches. The use of different methods helps achieve better outcomes than using one method alone.

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Mentoring Change Leaders

Becoming a transformational leader requires more than just inherent abilities. Health care settings bring about numerous challenges and problems. As such, leaders in this sector must undergo rigorous training and mentorship from other successful leaders (Andrew, Garman & Lemak 2011). Future leaders should also start practicing leadership early in their careers, taking into account that the path to effective leadership is rather demanding. Additionally, in mentoring these leaders, institutions should focus more on how to best train them rather than how much it will cost to the organization. In the long run, well-mentored leaders will guarantee the success of the institution. When mentoring leaders, organizations must also ensure that they are capable of cultivating the organizational goals and also provide room for practice.

Conclusion

Patient-centeredness of healthcare services is an ideal way of measuring the quality of health care services. Achieving a high level of service quality requires the development and implementation of a strategic plan. It requires achieving positive outcomes and changing the patient’s perception through health patient-provider relationships, effective and efficient services, accessibility of the services and cost containment. Furthermore, for the facilities to provide quality services, they must have proper management that can foster cooperation and collaboration. Effective leaders should possess emotional intelligence while at the same time focusing on meeting the established organizational goals. To achieve the organizational goals, they should first set measurable goals and identify benchmarking partners. Also, the management should put in place tools that facilitate the accomplishment of these goals. To assess whether the change process is efficient or not, there should be an evaluation plan that needs to be focused on patient-centeredness of the provided services by measuring patient experience using various methods. The change process may be beneficial at present; however, its future success necessitates further mentoring of leaders for change.

 

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