Even before the pandemic, American hospitals were facing many problems that harmed the efficacy of our national healthcare system.
In May last year, the Washington Post revealed that around two thirds of healthcare practitioners didn’t have facemasks.
Also, clinical mistakes, hospital acquired infections, and delayed patient discharges cause a decline in the quality of health related services.
Hence, achieving quality improvement QI programs delivers benefits universally by improving patient outcomes. These programs rely on evidence based practices that make caregivers more efficient.
So, what are some examples that show QI programs deliver what they promise? We’ll discuss these examples here.
Top 7 Examples of Healthcare Quality Improvement:
But how to define “quality improvement”?
HRSA has defined QI as nonstop, methodical actions bringing measurable advances in health related services.
QI programs combine these actions for monitoring their effects and continue modifying such activities. Remember that QI programs are different from QI projects that focus on particular issues and are short term.
So, which issues do QI programs tackle in the industry?
Hospitals are plagued by a shortage of nurses along with under qualified RNs. So, upskilling yourself by earning a BSN degree helps you ensure improved patient outcomes.
RN and BSN share several academic and career related similarities. But, comparing RN vs BSN salary, the disparity becomes apparent.
RNs who earn a BSN degree make over $70,000 annually on average. Thus, QI programs encourage nurses to increasingly enhance their educational qualifications along with many other feats we’ll now mention.
1. Eliminating errors.
Care delivery often gets riddled with errors/mistakes that seriously undermine a hospital’s credibility and significantly worsen patient outcomes.
So, the Beth Israel Medical Center decided to implement a QI program to address this problem and eliminate errors muddling their services.
This QI program was targeted to change medical procedures and the management structure to boost its efficiency. This QI program flourished well.
Which steps did it take to improve the quality of healthcare? A commission was created that introduced proper guidelines, upgraded obsolete protocols.
It changed some prominent leaders to ensure safety, efficiency, and transparency. That’s how Beth Israel reduced readmissions along with patient mortality rates.
Moreover, the hospital also faced cases of DVT, deep vein thrombosis, which diminished with the QI program.
2. Combating CHD.
According to the CDC, around 1 in 110 children born in the USA have a congenital disability known as congenital heart disease, or CHD.
25% of these babies have critical CHDs. Cardiologists have improved outcomes significantly in recent years, but many children still suffer from health problems in the future.
PC4, one of CNU’s founding organizations, came up with a QI program to address these challenges. Now, which steps are necessary to reduce CHD related complications by PC4?
They made sure to collect high quality, purpose driven data and its routine feedback to clinicians for better decision making.
It allows clinicians to improve their performance based on empirical analysis, which caused a 24% reduction in postoperative deaths between 2014 and 2018.
Moreover, the results led to a 12% decrease in significant complications as well. This example conclusively proves that implementing quality improvement programs can bring visible advances in patient outcomes.
3. Strategic goals.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, or in short SHSC, a Canadian hospital located in Toronto, described its strategic goals for 2018 to 2019.
These strategic objectives involved ensuring a compassionate delivery of care in the hospital and creating websites to enhance patient engagement.
One of these objectives dealt with reducing staff to patient infections by establishing a “hand hygiene plan.” After achieving a 48% success rate, SHSC planned to increase the success rate by 60% in the future for better results.
4. Lose the tube.
In New York, Mount Sinai Hospital established its “Lose the Tube” program to reduce the increasing cases of CAUTI, catheter associated urinary tract infection.
They observed that even patients who didn’t need catheters were being given the tube and left with it for a dangerous amount of time.
So, this malpractice was causing CAUTIs to emerge in massive numbers. This program decreased CAUTI rates from 2.85 to a mere 0.32 per 1,000 catheter days while saving the hospital mover $30,000.
5. Empowering patients.
University Hospital Southampton, in short UHS, found that patients often seem confused when receiving insufficient information about their treatment.
So, they don’t follow the doctor’s advice properly or don’t know what to do when their conditions worsen.
Thus, a team working at UHS found that putting patients at the center of their healthcare could help them regain control and contribute to self improvement.
How did they achieve this feat?
UHS created a checklist for patients that could help them identify factors influencing their health.
This patient administered checklist, PAC, also empowered patients to provide real time feedback to clinicians for collaboration.
6. Improving pregnancy.
A study shows that more than 2,400 infant deaths happened in England and Wales in 2018.
Thus, St. George’s University introduced this smartphone application to monitor women’s health while they’re pregnant. Primarily, this app will record cases of hypertension.
Frequent hospital visits may cause anxiety in pregnant women, thereby complicating the pregnancy.
Experts can make this app available in languages most widely spoken by women in South London, like Urdu, Tamil, and Polish.
7. No unnecessary procedures.
Boston University implemented this program. Experts observed that excessive and needless laboratory experiments didn’t increase patient outcomes but significantly increased healthcare expenditures.
These unwanted testings also caused many errors and resulted in the lowering of patient satisfaction rates. The team proposed interventions that involved educating both physicians and patients about the dangers of excessive procedures.
Also, they placed posters in the hospital to remind everyone about the risks of unnecessary experiments. They aimed to reduce needless lab orders for a patient every day by more than 15% within three months.
What you should remember?
From enhancing cybersecurity to improving patient experience, our national healthcare faces several challenges today.
So, experts establish QI programs to strengthen factors that contribute to enhancing caregiving. These processes can be controlled and modified as well.
QI doesn’t only bolster a caregiver’s performance but also makes healthcare procedures sustainable and cost effective.
These programs are executed in the background of traditional hospital operations to boost the industry.
We can see how Telehealth grew from 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020 after the emergence of the pandemic in the USA. It shows the potential of quality improvement programs to normalize technology for the betterment of patient outcomes.
Using wearables, leveraging augmented reality, and relying on data driven methods have improved healthcare in the country.
So, personalized medications and further advancements in robotics will also help doctors and nurses provide optimal services to patients.