Culture of Quality in Healthcare Organizations


The current situation shows that despite serious technological advancements, the quality of healthcare is considered to be poor in the United States. As Joshi, Ransom, Nash, and Ransom (2014) admit, the cost of care varies greatly across the country, making medical services inaccessible for particular social groups. To create a culture of quality in a healthcare organization, one needs to properly understand the concept of culture, know its elements, and be able to nurture these elements within a setting. Public demands for improving the sphere of medicine have forced the governmental structures to realign the standards of care delivery and introduce new patient-oriented programs. Presently, clinics resort to different strategies (credentialing, benchmarking, creating new care models, and more) that have proven their effectiveness in overcoming challenges tracked in doctor-patient relationships.

The Atmosphere of Encouragement

To create a culture of quality within a clinical setting, an organization’s leader needs to, first of all, promote the policy of mutual trust and support. A wise supervisor always remains tolerant of mistakes when educating young specialists. He/she must stimulate subordinates to report all possible failures immediately to be able to take response measures. The timely correction of errors can significantly assist with improving patients’ safety and provide more effective monitoring of the care delivery process (Ammouri, Tailakh, Muliira, Geethakrishnan, & Al Kindi, 2015). Ammouri et al. (2015) emphasize that members of the staff should never be afraid to share concerns; instead, nurses should be encouraged to discuss all possible issues and always ask for assistance. Only then, they will learn from their mistakes and will know how to avoid those in the future, which, in turn, will assist with establishing a culture of quality.

Profiling as a Means to Establish the Culture of Quality

Presently, an increasing number of healthcare organizations implement continuous quality improvement (CQI) strategies to address the issue of underperformance and low patients satisfaction with medical services. As Joshi et al. (2014) point out, “CQI integrates structure, process, and outcomes of care into a management system that allows process to be analyzed and outcomes to be improved” (p. 178). Aside from the mentioned constituents, the given system combines a variety of mechanisms that stimulate more open communication between doctors and patients. These mechanisms or tools include benchmarking, credentialing, making physical report cards, and other activities helping clinicians with creating a complete customer profile (Joshi et al., 2014). Such a complex approach to improving healthcare allows physicians to thoroughly study each particular case and plan treatment more accurately.

Credentialing is understood as hiring medical workers that are highly qualified and can deliver a proper level of care. As Joshi et al. (2014) admit, the decision to offer someone a physician’s/nurse’s position is often based on such criteria as certification, available recommendations, and the overall number of hours devoted to education. Benchmarking is used by organizations’ leaders to conduct a quantitative measurement of best practices and compare those to a clinic’s performance. If the figures show some serious deviation, it usually means that the organization requires changing the current practice patterns. In this case, the experience of peer groups turns extremely helpful.

Physician report cards also arrive as an integral component of a customer’s profile providing information regarding patient’s satisfaction and the cost of services. Seeing the level of customers’ satisfaction helps physicians detect the gaps in treatment and develop effective solutions aimed at reducing both the number of complains and percentage of readmissions (Renedo, Marston, Spyridonidis, & Barlow, 2015). Considering that the culture of quality is primarily created to raise the customers’ safety, the given cards do a major service for clinicians in terms of health risk reduction. However, the accuracy and validity of information written in these cards utterly depend on a patient’s objectivity and readiness to speak freely.

Upbringing the Culture of Quality by Promoting Teamwork

Teamwork is yet another important aspect of nurturing the culture of quality in a clinical setting. For the medical staff to work as a single unit, a team leader must strictly formulate objectives and be able to explain their relevance for the clinic’s operation (Renedo et al., 2015). Motivation techniques (bonuses and career promotions) serve as the tools to keep the staff performance at a proper level: motivated employees are more likely to treat their duties with respect and utmost devotion. Successful leadership, in this case, implies regular monitoring of employees’ performance and teaching subordinates the principles of interdependent working (Renedo et al., 2015). When combined, these activities form a suited environment for work quality improvement.

Conclusion

Creating a culture of quality in a clinical setting requires leaders to closely consider the best practices in this sphere and adhere to the standards of care delivery. Nurturing the atmosphere of encouragement, updating patients’ profiles, and fostering teamwork within an organization arrive as the key tools to help one establish the given culture and promote its further development. In addition, the monitoring of employees’ performance assists in tracking the effectiveness of the applied staff-motivation policy.

References

Ammouri, A. A., Tailakh, A. K., Muliira, J. K., Geethakrishnan, R., & Al Kindi, S. N. (2015). Patient safety culture among nurses. International Nursing Review, 62(1), 102-110.

Joshi, M., Ransom, E. R., Nash, D. B., & Ransom, S. B. (2014). The healthcare quality book : Vision, strategy, and tools (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

Renedo, A., Marston, C. A., Spyridonidis, D., & Barlow, J. (2015). Patient and public involvement in healthcare quality improvement: How organizations can help patients and professionals to collaborate. Public Management Review, 17(1), 17-34.