Quality of health care course focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve quality results in inpatient care. Learners are able to develop strategies for quality improvement through analysis and interpretation of quality and performance data. Moreover, the emphasis is placed on performance management tools, patient safety protocols, and process controls to ensure both quality and efficiency.
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What is quality in health care?
Quality in health care refers to the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.
Researchers measure health care quality to identify problems caused by overuse, underuse, or misuse of health resources. According to Shi and Singh, the quality of health care can be determined using micro-and macro-perspectives. Micro quality indicators include:
- Small area variations.
- Medical errors.
- Patient satisfaction.
- Quality of life.
- Health outcomes.
On the other hand, macro-indicators of quality of health care include:
- Population health.
What are the characteristics of quality healthcare?
Features of quality healthcare include:
Avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
Should provide services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit.
Providing care that is not only respectful of but also responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.
Avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
Reduce waits and sometimes harmful delays for those receiving care and to the caregivers.
Providing care that does not vary in quality depending on personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.
How to access and improve quality of health care.
The Donabedian model is a common framework for evaluating health care quality and identifies three domains in which health care quality can be assessed. These domains include:
- Process, and
All of these three domains are firmly linked and build on each other. The structural characteristics impact or inform the processes. The processes then impact or inform the outcomes. Improvements in structure and process are often observed in outcomes.
Some examples of improvements in process are clinical practice guidelines, analysis of cost efficiency, and risk management, which consists of proactive steps to prevent medical errors.
Ways of improving quality of healthcare.
1. Analyze your data and outcomes.
Before you commence to make improvements in health care, first of all, you have to know what opportunities exist for improvements. Afterward, analyze trends and statistics from electronic health records, outcome studies, and other data sources to identify areas that need improvement.
2. Set goals.
After you analyze your data and outcomes, based on your findings you should set smart goals in areas that need improvement.
3. Create a balanced team.
A balanced team should consist of members from different backgrounds, with varied skills and experience levels. A balanced team should include a senior leader to advise, provide oversight, and advocate for the team. Moreover, it should also include a clinical expert who can make clinical decisions. It should also have a project manager to accomplish day-to-day tasks and keep everyone on track.
4. Include human factor inputs.
Consideration of human factors in the design of healthcare systems and processes has many benefits. These benefits include:
- More efficient care processes.
- Enhanced communication between medical providers
- A better understanding of a patient’s medical condition
- Reduced risk of medical device and health IT-related errors
- Improved patient outcomes, and cost-savings.
5. Create an executable plan.
In order for the team to accomplish its goals in a timely and effective manner, you must create an achievable improvement plan.
6. Become familiar with the PSDA cycle.
Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, aims to test quality or improvement-related changes in clinical settings. Therefore, by planning then enacting a change, observing results, and then acting on what is learned, one is able to discern which changes are effective.
7. Communicate goals and progress.
Communicate your goals and progress with all the team. This way, your plan is likely to succeed since everyone is engaged.
8. Research other organizations and collaborate.
Research other organizations that are doing better in what you want to improve. Then you can reach out to see if you can learn from their quality improvement programs.