Health Care Quality
Quality care is the objective of many healthcare systems around the world. It is a measure of how well goals are met from the perspective of involved stakeholders. In this view, quality standards are established to guide the implementation of interventions in a manner that addresses the expectations of different parties. Primarily, patients are at the center of interest since they are the primary consumers of health care. As a consequence, many quality plans are designed with the focus of the clients. Hospitals and other health institutions practice the measurement of such standards to identify improvement opportunities to adhere to industry requirements as well as attract customers.
Measurements of Quality Care
These are measures based on the infrastructure of the hospital, which is essential in the delivery of quality health care (FamiliesUsa, 2014). They include available buildings such as wards, offices, laboratories, and reliable sources of power. They also entail the personnel endowment of the facility and the qualifications of the staff members. This is because hospitals can have ample structures but lack competent workers to carry out necessary activities in them. Others include the environmental policy under which care is provided and the general availability of resources in the center.
A common consideration under this class is the installation of systems necessary to provide quality care such as the electronic health record system, the re-ordering software for drugs, and the overall technological advancement (Cantiello, Kitsantas, Moncada & Abdul, 2016). Other than clients, industry accreditors and insurance companies use these structure measures to weigh the ability of a hospital to deliver quality care.
Patients use structure measures in selecting a preferred hospital because they provide one with necessary information about the capacity of a facility (FamiliesUsa, 2014). The characteristics of a health care center can profoundly determine its ability to provide the desired quality of care. Also, since these are the same measures used in the evaluation and accreditation of hospitals, meeting established criteria is an implication of one’s potential to offer quality care. However, structure measures are, in some cases, insufficient in giving the complete picture about a provider’s ability to provide quality care. This is because a hospital might not employ the resources at its disposal in a manner that improves the patients’ health.
These are standards used to assess the degree of consistency employed in the provision of care in a hospital. It mainly deals with establishing adherence to established methods and techniques that have been proven to improve the health of a patient and limit the probability of future complications (FamiliesUsa, 2014). The use of these criteria requires the knowledge of industry laid standards or professional codes. For providers, process assessments offer immediate and valuable feedback which can be promptly used to make improvements in the provision of care.
Patients might use process measurements in deciding which hospital they would prefer for their regular visits. Although the information on such standards is available from personal experience and reports from others, its availability can help one assess which facility is more observant of laid down treatment procedures. A consistent hospital is more likely to provide quality care compared to one that regularly deviates from conventional techniques. However, a challenge in this class is the unavailability of standard processes for particular tasks in health care. Also, the effectiveness of procedures is determined by their complete adherence rather than limited compliance.
Outcome quality measures determine the effectiveness of a hospital based on the health of a patient due to the care they received. In this view, the focus is on both the direct and indirect effects of care on the wellbeing of the client, their quality of life, and their overall status. As a result, they are based on pre-set health goals whose achievement is an indication of superior quality (Teare, 2014). Such objectives can be set around the following areas;
Mortality. This is a traditional measure of the survival rate of patients. Hospitals with a higher endurance and recovery percentage are deemed to provide better quality care than one where the number of deaths is very high. Facilities set goals on a general perspective or for specific categories.
Care Safety. This pertains to the protection of patients from hospital-acquired infections or complications from medical mistakes. It also looks at the general environmental safety such as the proneness to injury.
Readmissions. Readmissions are the return of patients to the hospital due to the resurgence of a treated problem or a related complication. It is a costly endeavor that is associated with poor quality care.
Time Sensitivity of Care. Timeliness is an essential aspect of quality care. This is because the effectiveness of medical interventions are highly determined by the time they are administered. In this sense, many people die or get worse in waiting bays due to delayed care. Quality care is one where patients are attended to promptly.
Equity. This is a measure of fairness in accessing care. It is based on the evaluation of care from the perspective of various disparities that limit people from obtaining desired services (Cantiello, Kitsantas, Moncada & Abdul, 2016). Quality care is one where all people can be treated without discrimination.
Customers use outcome measures to choose a hospital because they provide a snapshot of its quality deliverables. They can judge the facility from the viewpoint of achieved results which are fundamental to quality care.
Customer Experience Measures
The experience of clients is critical in the making of future decisions. It is a measure of satisfaction with previously obtained services or interventions (FamiliesUsa, 2014). These measures rely on the perceived quality of care by the patients. They count on elements such as the provision of information by carers, the experienced interpersonal relationship, patient-centered interventions, and timely service, among others. Patients use these measures in making hospital choices because experienced factors can help one rate the quality of care.
Hospitals receive ratings and accreditations from various health care administrative and regulatory bodies based on their quality of care, among other metrics. In this view, facilities are set into categories each with precise specifications on the set capacities and health care goals (Cantiello, Kitsantas, Moncada & Abdul, 2016). They are evaluated periodically to determine their achievement of such objectives as well as their resources and capabilities audited to decide on their next classification. Feedback from these agencies can be used as a quality measure by different stakeholders. Patients can compare hospitals based on their accreditation reports to choose the one ranked high as it is perceived to provide quality care.
Hospital Features for Designing a Quality Improvement Plan
A quality improvement plan in health care is a document that is designed to establish and communicate the commitments an organization makes to its stakeholders for enhancing quality through set goals and action strategies. It entails the identification of current status and setting out targets as well as proposed techniques through which to achieve them. The sources of required data are specific features in hospitals that form the foundation of quality.
One of the features that sunlight hospital and other health care facilities can use to design a quality improvement plan is the feedback from benchmark exercises. Modern organizations regularly undertake comparative studies with industry leaders to determine their shortcomings and possible ways of filling the gaps (Singer, Benzer & Hamdan, 2015). These reports can be used as guiding tools in the preparation of frameworks to enhance the quality of care.
Internal Audit Reports
These entail scores on the hospital processes, outcomes, client feedback, and other quality indicators (Singer, Benzer & Hamdan, 2015). Improvement is based on upgrading current systems to meet desired levels. By evaluating such quality identifiers, the hospital can monitor its weak areas and focus more effort on them in its quality enhancement efforts. The successful study of such elements can improve care in Sunlight hospital. However, inaccurate reporting can cause significant quality failure.\
Industry Accreditation Feedback
Hospital accreditation studies take an in-depth evaluation of the facility, which is graded against set industry standards. It mainly relies on established quality measures to determine the capacity of hospitals to deliver certain classes of services. Sunlight can use these reports to monitor its quality scores and prepare an improvement plan. Working on identified weaknesses can enhance the quality of care in the hospital. However, some of the grading mechanisms are too general can offer misleading information.
The resources of a health facility can be influential in determining the quality of care. They include the physical and intangible endowments that work together to produce desired results. Investment in these elements can enhance the quality of care in Sunlight, among other hospitals. For instance, the measurement tools used to determine quality scores are a useful resource in designing an improvement plan. Failure to acquire necessary resources can, however, lead to failing strategies due to the lack of support materials.
Quality Care and Competitive Advantage
As discussed, quality care is a primary consideration for patients in deciding their preferred regular hospitals. In this view, Sunlight hospital can benefit from having a better quality of care because more clients will be attracted to the facilities compared to competitors. Patients are confident that they can receive the best care in the hospital, and their continued visit is necessary for growing the Sunlight brand and reputation, which are vital competitive factors.
Cantiello, J., Kitsantas, P., Moncada, S., & Abdul, S. (2016). The Evolution of Quality Improvement in Healthcare: Patient-Centered Care and Health Information Technology Applications. Journal of Hospital Administration, 5(2). doi: 10.5430/jha.v5n2p62
FamiliesUsa. (2014). Measuring Health Care Quality: An Overview of Quality Measures, 1-16. Retrieved from https://familiesusa.org/sites/default/files/product_documents/HSI%20Quality%20Measurement_Brief_final_web.pdf
Singer, S., Benzer, J., & Hamdan, S. (2015). Improving Health Care Quality and Safety: The Role of Collective Learning. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 91. doi: 10.2147/jhl.s70115
Teare, G. (2014). Measurement of Quality and Safety in Healthcare: The Past Decade and the Next. Healthcare Quarterly, 17(SP), 45-50. doi: 10.12927/hcq.2014.23950