Quality and safety of patient care are critical in the delivery of health care services. Improved health care services cannot be guaranteed in setups where quality is compromised, and the safety of patients is questionable. Patients’ safety relates to how healthcare facilities are protecting their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. Many hospitals strive to keep their patients safe, but not all. Some hospitals have failed terribly in ensuring their patients are safe. Safety of patients should be given priority to ensure hospitals provide their services in a conducive and humane environment. Health care providers must reduce rates of infections by putting in place control mechanisms that prevent mistakes from happening within their setups and facilitate better communication between hospital staff, patients and their families. Health care studies conducted in the united states of America indicate that lack of patient safety mechanism in some hospitals contributes to nearly loss of more than four hundred and forty thousand lives through errors, injuries, and accidents that could have been avoided if proper safety mechanism being employed.
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Quality and safety of patients are related issues, but different. Protection of patients only prevails where quality services are provided. This article demonstrates the importance of quality and patient safety in healthcare. It examines how quality and safety influences the delivery of health care services. The article has also evaluated the quality and patient safety regarding how care providers perceive it in an organizational context. Furthermore, the review also involves focusing on the rationale used to implement quality care as well as the frameworks and opportunities available for the implementation of high-quality care and safety. Additionally, the article has evaluated specific, measurable, and expected benefits of reliable and quality patients care facilities, risks associated with implementing health care quality and the safety programs, the cost of care and quality and how safety and quality care services can be appraised.
Organisational Context and Understanding of Quality and Patient Safety
High quality care and patient safety are essential to any healthcare facility. Protection within the health care system relates to the lack of harm to patients. Patients seek health care services after diseases, or disease-causing microorganism has harmed them or suffered injuries. They expect hospitals to care for them to improve their well being. Quality of care services has to do with having competent, capable and decisive care services that ensure patients receive medical attention on time (Field, Krista and Carol 34). Health care service providers need to be skilled in providing quality patient care services. Not everyone can be relied on to provide quality health care services. Hospitals need to have systems and structures that ensure patients receive desired services on time to warrant quality services. Lack of clear admission, service delivery, and discharge protocols affects the quality of services administered to the patients. Quality services aimed at helping patients address medical needs on time and in the best way possible that supports their well-being.
Many issues happen to patients within the healthcare systems some of which do not promote patient well being. Safety of patients focuses on avoiding bad events that jeopardize patients’ health. Within the healthcare set up, patients undergo situations and event that affect their physical and emotional well being. Hospitals rely on their safety systems to protect patients’ physical and emotional well-being as they seek medical attention for whichever ailment they might be affecting them. Quality, on the other hand, emphasizes doing things the right way and not just avoiding their occurrence (Caravon et al. 14). Some problems experienced while providing medical care to patients can be avoided if healthcare service providers focused on delivering better services. The need for better services should not be underestimated. All the relevant stakeholders must protect the human life at all costs. Hence, health care systems should not just focus on avoiding bad events, but also focus on doing everything correctly to promote patient’s health.
To the healthcare organization, safety seeks to reduce mistakes that happen within the health care system. It has been argued that errors are standard, and some cannot be avoided due to human nature, but the health care system should concentrate on the rate or number of errors likely to happen. It might be impractical to reduce the number of errors to zero, but the focus at all-time should be to reduce the number of avoidable mistakes as much as possible (Sherwood and Jane 23). Quality care services go beyond reducing the number or rate of errors in increasing the overall care experience of patients. Better care service contributes to the well being of patients and helps service providers perform their function with ease. Despite the safety and quality patient care services being different, they are related. They complement each other in the promotion of patient’s health needs.
The Rationale for Resourcing and Implementing Quality and Patient Safety
The basis of quality and health care services has systems that support better service delivery. Building and maintaining efficient health care systems require resources and a strategy that will warrant desired results. In developing a quality and safety systems, a hospital can rely on funds from several stakeholders. Various reasons can be given when soliciting for resources. The basis of sourcing and implementing quality and patient health care services should then need to improve the quality of services being offered. Everyone desires better services, hence it is prudent that every hospital improves its services to meet client needs. Many hospitals, especially privately owned hospitals have been developing their services to attract more clients. Public hospitals, on the other hand, should provide better services to promote the government’s need to safeguard its citizen’s health needs (Caravon et al. 14). The demand for high quality services is the first reason for seeking resources or implementing patients’ safety and improved quality services.
Furthermore, the nature of ailments has been changing. Currently, there exist new types of illnesses that require specialized patient care. Improved quality services are therefore needed to help in treating patients suffering from complex emerging diseases thus is life-threatening. Safety of patients undergoing treatment should also be warranted because of the nature of infections and set up of hospitals (Mathews et al. 149). The human population has also been on the rise, subjecting a lot of pressure on the existing healthcare systems. Quality services will serve patients efficiently and improve the discharge rates, thus reducing the number of people seeking medical attention at any given moment. Increased human traffic at health care centers presents safety concerns. Chances of patients being injured while in search of medical attention to contracting diseases as they come across other patients at the health care center are also high (Sherwood and Jane 38). The better safety mechanism is critical in ensuring patients are protected from contracting diseases while within a healthcare system. Patient safety is therefore essential in protecting patients’ interests in the modern healthcare systems and should support at all cost.
Frameworks and Options for Implementation
The plan-do-study-act model can be used as a framework for the development and implementation of quality and patient care programs. The healthcare system teams are dynamic. The changes adopted today become irrelevant several years to come hence the hospital management should continuously review its quality and patient safety system to ensure emerging issues are addressed. The senior management should aim at making small but frequent changes in the hospital quality and patient safety programs in contrast to making significant and slow changes. The plan-do-study-act framework is cyclical and allows the management of the hospital asses quality and safety needs of healthcare services, develop and effect changes that will lead to the improvement of the quality of service offered.
Plan-Do-Study-Act framework for development and implementation of improved quality and patient-care services is efficient in establishing a functional and causal correlation between variation in process and outcomes. The framework for development and implementation is useful in identifying behavioral factors and capabilities that have an impact on quality and patient safety. Before using the model to develop better quality and patient safety services, some issues should be considered. The need to improve quality and patient safety services should be established. The goals are important because they will guide subsequent steps of the project. Furthermore, it is prudent to develop a means of evaluating the attainment of desired results. Every health project seeks to achieve individual needs. Senior management of a healthcare facility should determine how they would measure desired results before using this method because it will be useful in determining the success of the whole project.
Lastly, deciding what should be done to achieve desired goals is critical. Implementing strategies developed through the framework is essential in the attainment of better quality and patient safety services (Field, Krista and Carol 29). When using the Plan-Do-Study-Act structure to develop and implement improved quality and patient safety systems the process beings with determining the nature of problems that compromise the quality and safety of patients. It then defines changes required to warrant the quality and safety of patients. The course of action to develop better services that promote better service delivery and safety of patients is then undertaken. Persons to take part in effecting the changes, how to measure expected results and its impact on the delivery of health care service and what the strategy seeks to achieve are also identified. Variations on the patient’s care system are then undertaken, and information related to the performance of the system and its impact on the delivery of healthcare service recorded for use in the further evaluation of the changes and for subsequent planning on how to improve quality and patient safety.
Specific, Measurable Expected Benefits
Patient safety is critical in the delivery of high-quality health care services. Improving quality and patient safety services makes caregivers perform their services with ease. Providing care services in situations that do not warrant the safety of patients is challenging. Many times, caregivers are overwhelmed and end up doing little to promote the health needs of patients because of the lack of patient safety. Healthcare facilities that provide better quality services and warrant patient safety has a good relationship with their clients. Improved patient and caregiver relationship make it easy to identify health problems and recommended ways of treating the diseases. Quality and patient care services have an impact on the reputation of health facilities and their staff. Improving it, therefore, promotes the public image of the hospital and will win the trust of patients seeking medical services.
Various measurable benefits are associated with improved quality of medical services and the safety of the patient. There are three quantifiable qualities related to quality and patient safety. The three measures determine the quality of healthcare organizations. Three types of quality measure that can be used to measure improvement in the quality of healthcare service and patient care are structural measures, process measures and outcome measures. They are as discussed below.
Structural measures can be used to determine how structures of health care have improved and are helping in the provision of better services. Structural tests indicate how effective health services are in meeting their objectives. Fundamental improvement can be achieved through the development of better quality and patient safety plans. The program should help healthcare providers offer high-quality services more efficiently (Mathews et al. 150). It is expected that after the study, all structural frameworks involved in service delivery will be enhanced to promote better service delivery. Hospital structures related to communication, storage of patient information among others, would improve to ensure better service delivery.
Process improvement is another benefit. Better processes allow health care providers to serve more patients with ease. Process measures can be measured by reviewing the percentage of people receiving preventive services as compared to those seeking therapeutic services. Quality and patient safety services attract patients’ attention to seek preventive treatment which is less costly and involving as an opposed treatment which is time-consuming, complicated and expensive. The program aims to improve all processes involved in the delivery of health care services to make them efficient and reliable.
A measure of outcome also determines expected results. Increased in some people reporting to be pleased with the quality and safety of patients indicates the success of the program. Furthermore, the reduction in complaints related to the excellence of services and patient services are the expected measurable benefits (Caravon et al. 17). Expected benefits can be measured in various ways. Even a reduction in the number of accidents, injuries and errors are the benefits of this program.
Reduction in cost of service is another expected benefit. Improved quality and patient safety care services allow minimal resources to be used in the delivery of quality health care services. It eliminates unwanted expenses in the provision of health care that reduces the overall cost of health care services. A reduction in cost makes health care services affordable to many hence the health of as many people as possible can be safeguarded (Sherwood and Jane 46). The cost of health care is expected to go down. More people will be able to afford health care services once the program executed.
Risks Associated with Implementing Healthcare Quality and Patient safety
Implementing a healthcare quality and patient safety program is challenging. The first challenge lies in reviewing and changing the health care quality and planning. Change is never readily welcomed for fear of the unknown. Convincing health care provider to adapt to the new system for providing quality health care and safeguarding patient safety is not easy. Resistance from various stakeholders is expected, which threatens to put the whole process in disarray if there is no commitment to pursue it to completion. Meeting public expectation has also affected the general implementation of quality healthcare and patient safety programs. Sometimes, expectations can be unrealistic, which leads to shelving on ideas that could be better than those in existence could.
Secondly. Lack of enough resources to develop and implement quality health care and patient safety programs. New systems require enormous resources for implementation because as they are being designed and tested the old system would be in operation. Practically, a hospital will need double the resources it operates with, since part will be used in the existing program while the remaining dedicated to the new health care quality and patient safety program (Field, Krista and Carol 49). Shortage of resources is bound to happen to affect the implementation of the program.
Lack of much information about the new program during its introductory phase poses a significant threat to its success. Once a new program is in place, it will require resources to train health caregiver on the operation of the new system. It will also take time for them to be fully conversant with the new program. Neverwhere less, the three risks above can be managed with better planning before rolling out the improved quality health h care and patient safety program. The new concept will through be researched the and developed before introducing it to hospital operations. Experts in quality and patient safety will be consulted and their insights used in the development of the program. All questions related to the program will be answered. Sufficient information about the improved quality and patient program will be provided to all stakeholders. Secondly, enough resources will be collected before rolling out the program. The hospital will evaluate its existing resources and facilities and compare it with the requirements for the program. Lastly, all stakeholders will be highlighted on the operation of the improved quality and patient care program before it is officially launched. Experienced staff with vast knowledge of quality and patient safety will be given the responsibility to supervise others on how to adopt the proposed model of health care service delivery.
The Cost of Quality and Patient Safety
Quality and patient safety will cost the hospital more than the current system. The proposed quality and patient safety will require new arrangements that the hospital will incur the high cost of acquiring them. Latest technologies related to storage and retrieval of patients’ information will be purchased. Policies that facilitate identification of patients will also be changed. The structure of the hospital will also be reviewed to ensure compliance with the new modes of health care service delivery. Renovating the hospital building and acquiring the latest technological equipment for use in service delivery is likely to strain the hospital budget. More resources will need to be added to the existing facilities.
Moreover, the hospital will have to meet the cost of developing the new program. It will pay quality and patient safety experts for their contribution to the development of the new health service delivery program. Costs associated with the implementation of quality and patient safety program are set to be higher since health officials will have to be trained on how the new mode of operation should be executed. Independent quality and patient safety trainers will be incorporated to supplement activities and services internal staff of the hospital is offering. Many resources will be required, which might compel the health care facility to take loans to seek grants from well-wishers. Surprisingly, despite the burdensome resource requirement, the program can fail and lead to loss of all invested cash. There is no guarantee of a return on investment. The move is purely speculative. It is assumed that after implementation the hospital will benefit and recoup its invested capital. Failure of the system will automatically lead to a reversal in the traditional way of doing things, and the amount of resources spent will be lost.
Health care providers will also have to forgo their leisure time for a while until the program becomes operational and practical. It is difficult to determine all aspects of an application. All health care providers will be reporting on duty to ensure there is enough workforce to handle a crisis or unforeseen event to be experienced during the implementation of the quality and patient safety program.
Several action recommendations will be used to implement quality and patient safety recommendations. Support of senior administrators of the healthcare facility will be sought to warrant alignment of the patient safety, risk and quality functions. The need to provide better quality and patient care services will have to be developed in conjunction and coherence with other policies being established by the senior hospital management. Patient safety and quality issues will be aligned with the strategic goals of the organization to reduce duplication of roles or resources that is wasteful. Current activities and structures that ensure quality and patient safety will be examined and the new model developed to support and utilize existing resources. Guidance will also be sought from legal experts to provide the new standard of quality and patient safety does not contravene hospital laws and regulations. Lastly, there will be a provision of for periodic review of roles of patient safety and quality programs to ensure the hospital can cope up with emerging issues in the provision of health care services.
Effective execution of the plan will have a high return on investment. Improving the quality of patients care and safety within the health care system will have a high impact on the operation of the hospital. It is of critical importance to improving quality and patient safety to ensure delivery of better services. Health systems have been undergoing numerous improvements for better service delivery. The reputation of healthcare is set to become better because the service will be appealing to clients and safeguard their health needs. In the wake of the increasing complexities of diseases, improved quality services, and patient safety ensures delivery of better services that certify the health of the public is protected. Health care providers will have an easy time discharging their functions.
Quality and patient safety are critical in the delivery of health care services. Many healthcare systems lack systems and structures that warrant the quality of service and security of patients. Quality and safety are complementary activities within the health care system. The absence of patient safety affects the quality of healthcare service. Emerging health needs and increasing human population have transformed health care services. Quality and patient care can be relied on to ensure better health care services as delivered and protect people from various ailments. Technology can be counted on to provide quality and patient care services. Designing and implementing quality and patient safety program is not easy. It requires many resources though the return on investment if not warranted. Designing and implementation of quality and patient care program should be carried out carefully to ensure the attainment of desired objectives. It is advisable to develop the goals and means of evaluating the goals to ensure the process is successful.
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Field, Mary, Krista Fong, and Carol Shade. “Use of Electronic Visibility Boards to Improve Patient Care Quality, Safety, and Flow on Inpatient Pediatric Acute Care Units.” Journal of pediatric nursing (2018).
Mathews, Simon, et al. “Advancing health care quality and safety through action learning.” Leadership in Health Services 30.2 (2017): 148-158.
Sherwood, Gwen, and Jane Barnsteiner, eds. Quality and safety in nursing: A competency approach to improving outcomes. John Wiley & Sons, 2017.