Dr. Gunjan Dhawan
Improving patient care in the hospital is an everyday activity. As healthcare providers, it should be our endeavor to constantly ensure and deliver world class healthcare services to each and every patient. To achieve the highest order of patient safety and quality, every healthcare organization needs to havea framework to support ongoing quality improvement. A comprehensive approach to quality improvement that impacts all aspects of the facility’s operation including clinical and non – clinical areas of the hospital is needed. This approach includes:
- identifying priority areas and area of improvement at the Department level
- validated data to measure how well processes work
- using data and benchmarks effectively
- implementing changes that result in improvement
As clinical staff assess patient needs and provide care, clinical indicators can help them understand how to make real improvements that help patients and reduce the risks. Similarly, non-clinical staff can monitor key indicators relevant to their daily work to understand how the processes can be more efficient, resources can be used more wisely, and physical risks can be reduced.
All departments and services—clinical and managerial—select measures related to their priorities. It can be anticipated that in large hospitals, there are some opportunities for similar measures to be selected in more than one department. For example, the pharmacy, infection control, departments may each set priorities related to reducing antibiotic use in the hospital. These measures may be integrated and considered as a hospital wide indicator.
After setting priorities for measurement, selecting what is to be measured, collecting and analyzing the data, and using the findings for improvement, data validation becomes one of the important steps in the process. Reliability and validity of measurement and quality of data needs to be established through the hospital’s internal data validation process.
Over time, the aggregate data will provide the hospital an effective tool for identifying opportunities for improvement and allow the comparison of the hospital’s performance with other units, particularly on the hospital wide measures selected by leadership. Thus, aggregate data is an important part of the hospital’s performance improvement activities.
And as they say, what get measured, gets done, and certainly improves!