Process maps have been used in different fields to understand or illustrate organizational processes or activities as they occur (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, 2010). In the healthcare sector, they have been used to provide insights into systems and processes associated with service provision (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, 2010). Particularly, this is true in healthcare service delivery systems because they provide visibility of end-to-end quality processes (O’Donohue & Maragakis, 2016).
This way, healthcare service providers can understand the quality of services they deliver and their impact on other aspects of healthcare management. Consequently, there is a better understanding of the roles healthcare service providers and administrators play in the delivery of medical services or the intended effect of working as a cross-functional team to improve the quality of services offered in the healthcare setting.
Process mapping could also help to estimate the impact of a change in the healthcare delivery process, including its effects on an organization’s operations (Institute of Medicine, 2001). For example, it has been associated with the proper implementation of change management processes because some organizations use it to wait for the right time to implement change, as opposed to doing so merely for the sake of seeing a paradigm shift in an organization (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, 2010).
Evidence shows that such a strategy could be implemented through data management and analysis techniques, which could inform the decisions of healthcare service providers when making significant changes to processes and systems in the healthcare setting. This way, it is easier for health leaders or managers to understand how to implement or integrate different types of changes in an organization’s processes (Cookson, Read, Mukherjee, & Cooke, 2011).
Lastly, process mapping could be an evaluation tool, which allows health administrators to review how an organization complies with its quality and safety policies (Cookson et al., 2011). For example, meta-data can be stored or evaluated based on one aspect of healthcare delivery to review an organization’s record of compliance in different areas of patients’ safety and quality management.
An organization that periodically reviews its safety and quality management processes could also help health administrators to use process-mapping tools to track changes in quality management and preempt important service delivery areas that require improvement (Cookson et al., 2011). This way, process mapping emerges as an instrumental tool for informing strategies for improvement in safety and quality.