Strategic planning in nursing can be regarded as a critical element of the model for improvement. Application of a performance measure at the Veterans Administration Hospital in mental health required strategic planning for collecting the necessary data, minimizing the possible biases, comparing the retrieved data to the information from other hospitals, summarizing the research outcomes, drawing the logical conclusions, and implementing them in practice.
Exploring the issues of study coordination and information dissemination, most hospital administrators emphasize the evidence-based approach to health care practices (Learning what works: Infrastructure required for comparative effectiveness research – workshop summary 2011). In that regard, planning the procedures for collecting the relevant information was necessary to apply performance measures at the Veterans Administration Hospital successfully.
After the steps of using double identification and real-time notifications for tracking the patient’s status and condition have been implemented, the number of medication errors caused by human factors has been increased. Getting accustomed to using double identification before interviewing patients, nurses minimized the number of cases of wrong diagnosis and interventions. Regarding the real-time notifications, this improvement in electronic databases made them much more effective. In general, the implementation of the safety-quality measures improved the performance of nursing staff.
After detecting particular deficits in the current health care practices, the hospital’s administration made the necessary improvements. The lessons learned from this quality/safety measure included the importance of timely and patient-centered measures for providing exceptional quality of services. After analyzing the performance measure, the current practices used at the Veterans Administration Hospital underwent specific changes. Understanding the importance of tracking the effects of changes upon the patients’ outcomes and stakeholders’ well-being, the hospital’s administration emphasized the procedures of quality-safety measures and their effectiveness.
Strategic planning of the research efforts to collect the necessary information and ensure its relevance were essential steps towards health care services improvement. In terms of daily practices, the changes took place in interviewing the patients, reporting their diagnosis, the recommended treatment strategies, and tracking the following treatment programs. The hospital collected the necessary data by paying proper attention to specific details, changes in the patients’ status, and using an individual approach to all patients and their cases. It translated the research findings into daily health care practices.
At first sight, double identification and real-time notifications may seem a bit excessive. However, as can be seen from the research outcomes, these safety-quality measures improved the quality of health care services and minimized the number of medication errors. Making these measures a part of daily routines, the hospital improved the effectiveness of nursing strategies. By improving medication safety, the hospital improved the quality of the received outcomes.
Therefore, the quality/safety measures adopted by the Veterans Administration Hospital have already had a positive impact upon the quality of the provided services and patients’ outcomes. Moreover, the hospital’s next steps in improving the quality/safety measures and enhancing their effectiveness are expected to provide the hospital with an opportunity to provide patients with exceptional quality of health care services and contribute to existing evidence by disseminating the collected information.