HQS-610: Foundations of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.


HQS-610: Foundations of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety course provides initial knowledge that will equip learners to make decisions regarding quality improvement and patient safety. Learners explore the quality improvement process and examine the most commonly used models and tools for improving health care quality. Additionally, the learners also evaluate methods to track, assess, analyze, and review data relating to patient safety issues.

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What is quality and patient safety?

According to the federal agency for health care research and quality (AHRQ), quality is doing the right thing at the right time for the right person and having the best possible result. On the other hand, as defined by the World Health Organization, patient safety is the prevention of errors and adverse effects to patients associated with health care.

Health care facilities should evaluate the quality of care by measuring whether it is effective, timely, safe, and responds to our patient’s preferences and needs. Additionally, every health care organizations’ quality improvement model should be based on the expectation of continuous improvement where performance is evaluated in an environment that supports openness and transparency.

Measures that healthcare organizations should use to provide quality health care.

1.      Enhancing the patient experience.

The following are the approaches that improve the patient experience:

  • Improving communication with doctors, nurses, and responsiveness of hospital staff.
  • Enhancing responsiveness to pain management.
  • Offering a clean and safe hospital atmosphere.
  • Providing clear and understandable discharge information to the patients.
  • Reviewing patient’s self-reported experience results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Hospital Surveys (HCAHPS). This presents an opportunity for the health care facilities to adopt aspects of care to improve their delivery of care.

2.      Improving the population health.

The following are the measures that aid in improving the population health:

  • Applying evidence-based practice and core measure compliance.
  • Lessening in hospital readmissions, mortality rates, and hospital-acquired conditions.
  • Lessening in errors related to complications.
  • Assessing outcomes that measure the cost of care delivery and level of care provided for, inpatient stroke, venous thrombolytic embolism (blood clots), sepsis, immunizations, perinatal care, emergency department throughput, outpatient emergency department pain management, and outpatient colonoscopy follow up.

3.      Reducing the costs.

There are several approaches that health care organizations can implement to reduce costs incurred in providing quality care for patients in their health care facilities. These approaches include:

  • Reducing readmission expense.
  • Reducing spending for workers’ compensation claims.
  • Lessening employee injuries.
  • Reduced medical error litigation and,
  • Improving employee productivity.

4.      Improving provider work life.

Health care organizations can utilize various measures to improve their workers’ life. Some of these measures include:

  • Preventing and identifying their staff burnout.
  • Implementation of team documentation into electronic health records. This results in increased staff satisfaction, improved revenues, and the capacity of the team to manage a larger volume of patients.
  • Standardizing workflows which result in improved employee satisfaction.

What are some of the clinical examples of quality improvement in healthcare?

Although health care systems face different difficult challenges when improving their quality of care, some of these measures taken have been successful. Examples of these successful clinical examples of quality improvement in health care include:

  • Pharmacist-led medication therapy management reduces the total cost of care.
  • Optimizing sepsis care improves early recognition and outcomes.
  • Boosting readiness and change competencies key to successfully reducing clinical variation

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