Quality Management and Patient Safety
Quality management is a broad term that encompasses various processes involved in maintaining high levels of quality. The phrase is used in many different contexts. It refers to a system that ensures that people are working together toward a common goal, with each person having a vested interest in the whole project’s success.
For example, using the model above, not all doctors focus on patient safety, but nearly all doctors are interested in ensuring optimal care. In some cases, an organization may have one doctor who concentrates solely on patient safety, like a physician anesthesiologist, while another focuses on patient satisfaction. We would consider this type of organization to have committed to a large-scale quality management system or process. Quality management aims to achieve excellence through measures such as quality assurance and continuous improvement, for example, by adopting new methods or technologies for managing projects or developing new products.
Quality management tools
Quality management tools can also include formal procedures that govern how work is performed and what information must be provided to other levels, ensuring that patients receive an experience consistent with their expectations. It provides answers about what steps can be taken to improve outcomes or advocate for improvements in practices such as adherence and utilization management rather than simply reporting findings from studies into policies and procedures that influence medical practice. QMSs aim to ensure that no one variable causes harm across wide variations within populations of patients. These systems generally help systems run more efficiently by gathering information from various sources (e.g., data collection) to make informed decisions about how patient treatment and care facilities should allocate resources.
Quality control includes various processes employed by organizations to prevent bad things from happening in the workplace. Some might involve specific measures such as hand washing, proper use of equipment and supplies, regular performance reviews (e.g., annual performance reporting), etc. Quality control measures are often implemented at several levels: at the individual or group level (e.g., assessing employee performance), organizational level (e.g., monitoring customer service as a whole), hierarchical level (e.g., enforcing organizational procedures), and executive-level (e.g., appointing managers). Sometimes these measures are combined at each level; other times, they are done separately at multiple levels.
Evaluating Quality Indicators
A 2015 study titled “Healthcare Provider Quality Indicators: A Cross-sectional Study” identified many factors that can impact the quality of care provided by a healthcare provider, including things such as the amount of education and experience of the providers, their training, clinical experience, and levels of patient satisfaction.
A 2014 study titled “The Relationship Between Patient Satisfaction and Patient Safety” found that patients were less satisfied with physicians if they had multiple chronic conditions or had been to emergency rooms recently.
Patient safety is, in essence, a way of measuring the quality of medical care. It’s about knowing how well you are able to serve your patients at any given point in time. It’s about ensuring that you know who is responsible for the care that you deliver to your patients.
Patient safety works if two things happen
● A system exists for documenting and tracking patient care.
● An external body (such as an accreditation body) applies rules and regulations to ensure compliance with these documented procedures.
Some of the most relevant and vital documents in our healthcare records are found on paper documents (like prescriptions, lab results, and diagnoses). Paper-based documentation is also one of the main reasons patient safety is so important. If there were no document control or accreditation management in place, patients would have no way of knowing if their healthcare provider was meeting their standards. Lack of document control means that they may not receive quality care or substandard care, which can lead to severe physical and mental consequences (i.e., illness or death).
Trusting a doctor because they have a medical degree from an accredited university and have gone through years of training to become a doctor is understandable — but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Doctors prove their proficiency by conducting quality evaluations like performance reviews or internal audits. Some doctors are required by law to conduct internal audits upon their own admission into practice, which helps them realize the specific defects for which they may be personally responsible.
A body like the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) ensures that doctors follow ACGME’s rules while they practice medicine. Patients can also contact ACGME directly to request information regarding the physician’s qualifications/performance / professional responsibilities etc.
The American Medical Association (AMA) aims at improving patient safety through education and communication. AMA’s mission statement states that: “To foster physician-patient relations; To strengthen professional competence; To increase access to superior health care.”
Quality management and document control bring peace of mind to the patient and the medical professional in many ways. When one does not need to remember every detail because it’s there to reference every time, they may better focus on the task at hand. Patients aware of these issues in health care may feel less at risk for adverse events.
Quality management and document control are essential components of patient safety. Along with continuing internal audits and accreditation, an organization implementing robust patient safety will experience fewer unnecessary patient deaths, save money, and operate more efficiently.