The healthcare environment is subject to numerous changes in terms of the prevalent medical conditions and the dynamics related to these problems. Subsequently, the leadership of a healthcare facility has to exhibit competence in improving the quality of services offered to their clients and establishing sustainable strategies for change management (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 432). A suitable scenario for understanding the components involved in the implementation of healthcare quality improvement is the case of readmissions for congestive heart failure. Efficient change management is crucial in improving the quality of medical services availed to patients with congestive heart failure hence reducing the recorded cases of readmission.
Congestive heart failure is a chronic illness involving the ineffectiveness of the heart’s role in pumping blood to the rest of the body. The disease is one of the prevalent life-threatening conditions in the modern world. In the United States, about 5.7 million individuals have been diagnosed with this condition. These figures are expected to escalate to over 8 million by 2030 (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015). Notably, the illness is one of the leading reasons for hospitalization. In addition to the mortality risk that this health complication poses, it is an expensive issue for both the affected individuals and the hospitals. In 2012, the total costs associated with congestive heart failure were $30.7 billion. The high rate of readmissions is another complexity associated with the illness. Currently, the frequency of readmission for this population group within 30 days is 28% (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015). These statistics have captured the attention of policymakers, researchers, and other relevant parties since it is perceived to be a correctable cause of low quality of healthcare services and hefty medical spending. Subsequently, improving the status quo requires apt strategies associated with change management and improved healthcare quality.
The effectiveness of the solutions for the identified problem largely depends on the utilization of specific tools that help disseminate the embedded healthcare quality initiatives. These tactics include:
Emphasize high-impact interventions
The goal of this strategic plan is to lower the avoidable causes of hospital readmissions. Congestive heart failure is an example of the high-impact, large-volume medical conditions in today’s world. Accordingly, implementing practical strategies will yield significant improvements and reduce the incurred costs within a relatively short period (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 440).
Assess the current performance
To know the exact areas to focus on, it will be helpful to evaluate the current level of healthcare quality relative to the applicable benchmarks. While the hospital has proven to have the human and material resources needed to deal with cognitive heart failure, a significant number of people return to the facility in less than a month with the recurrence of the health complication. This scenario justifies the invention of strategies geared towards reducing such occurrences. In the beginning, it will be easy to correct the basic metrics that seem furthest from the identified standards (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 440). In this case, the initial initiatives will include scheduling doctor appointments to follow up on the progress of the patient diagnosed with cognitive heart failure. Additionally, it will be helpful to call each patient and follow up on their progress 24 to 72 hours after being discharged. Moreover, since most readmissions occur about 30 days after being discharged, it will be important to make a phone call every day between the 25th and 30th day with the primary aim of evaluating the individual’s wellbeing (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015). Another immediate intervention that will aid in accomplishing the broad goal of reduced readmissions of cognitive heart failure patients is the provision of inpatient education on a one-to-one basis. Availing detailed information on how to manage the condition and the symptoms that warrant seeking the assistance of a medical practitioner will ensure that the patient does not wait till his or her condition becomes critical for him or her to act appropriately (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015).
Focus on the implementation process more than the initiative’s content
Even if the proposed strategies are practical and bound to yield the expected results, the efficacy of the implementation process is the key determining factor. Accordingly, the emphasis will be on the challenges that may occur when executing the interventions and the apt approaches of dealing with the barriers. In this case, one of the key challenges may be ensuring that all the relevant parties are on board with the project’s objectives. To deal with this situation, the focus will be on the early adopters and innovators. Working with this group will ultimately persuade the laggards to embrace the changes (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 440). Additionally, the availability of the needed resources may pose a challenge to the execution procedure. Concerning the limitation of financial resources and other material requirements, the project will strive to use practical approaches whose implement does not need a lot of funds. The governing principle will be using what is available to acquire what is desired.
Conduct a detailed cost-benefit analysis
It is essential to introduce a program that is sustainable in the long run. This aspect is measured by its affordability about the value of the expected outcome (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 440). Most of the strategies proposed for the reduction of readmission of patients with congestive heart failure do not require a large financial budget. For instance, the follow-up calls only require the input of the front desk administration in collaboration with the nursing staff. Additionally, the education programs will often be held within the hospital hence incurring minimal expenses. The only tactic that may be somewhat expensive is the long-term tactic of availing of home care services (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015). However, the payments made by the clientele will cater to the resultant expenditures. In comparison, the benefits of these strategies are far-reaching. In addition to reducing the direct costs of treating the affected individuals, the hospital will benefit from the recorded improvement of its performance.
Bring a multidisciplinary team on board
To enhance the efficacy of the suggested strategies, it will be helpful to involve all the relevant parties and communicate the proposed changes to them in a comprehensive manner (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 441). The team will comprise of the front desk administration who will help with accessing the patients’ records and making the phone calls as well as the nursing staff who will provide the necessary advice to the clients. The latter group of professionals will work in collaboration with physicians especially in cases that may require further consultation. The logistics and financial departments will also be involved in the implementation process when the medical personnel needs to visit the patient at home or if the individual needs to be transported to the hospital for detailed evaluation (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2015).
Promote a culture of continuous change in the facility
To achieve the desired goals in the long term, it will be helpful to ensure that the implemented strategies become part of the facility’s culture (Weber & Sidorov, 2014, p. 441). Ultimately, practical tactics can be used to deal with other chronic illnesses.
- Weber, V. & Sidorov, J. (2014). “Implementing healthcare quality improvement: Changing clinician behavior”. In M. S. Joshi, E. R. Ransom, D. B. Nash, & S. B. Ransom, The Healthcare quality book: Vision, strategy, and tools (3rd ed.) (pp. 423-452). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
- Ziaeian, B. & Fonarow, G. (2015). The prevention of hospital readmissions in heart failure. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 58(4): 379-385. Web.