“Like education, health care also needs to be given importance” – Shiv Nadar.
With the expansion of health care from the traditional doctor’s offices and hospitals of yesteryear to the modern-day expansive health care campuses, 24-hour emergency clinics popping up on every corner like gas stations and pharmacies offering services previously only offered in a doctor’s office, how can we make sure that we provide and receive quality health care?
The Ten Tips for Delivering Quality Health care below are ways we can start improving our health care system on an individual level, whether patient, doctor or administrative personnel.
1. Improve safety
…by taking measures to make medical mistakes less frequent and less harmful. According to a study published in 2013 by John Hopkins University, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, preceded only by heart disease and cancer. Improving safety protocol and procedures could help to drastically reduce the issues that lead to this high number of deaths each year.
2. Improve work environment
According to a report posted in September of 2014, nearly one in five nurses leaves his or her first job within the first year. Although various reasons were given for the departures, one way to increase employee retention is to improve the work environment. By identifying the areas for improvement and working towards making those improvements, the employees will feel more satisfaction with their workplace, thus increasing employee retention as well as improving job satisfaction.
3. Improve clinician and patient interactions
An article in the Permanente Journal (2009) states, “If patients are satisfied with clinician-patient interactions, they are likely to be more compliant with their treatment plan, to understand their role in the recovery process, and to follow through with the recommended treatment.“
Effective communication in the health care industry is of the highest importance, as oftentimes it can be a matter of life or death (see tip number 1, above). One key line of communication in the health care industry is that between the clinician and the patient. This communication should be effective and clear on both parts to help ensure the best possible treatment for each individual situation. By improving interactions between clinicians and patients, better communication can ensue, thus leading to more accurate diagnoses and better treatment plans.
4. Manage use of resources effectively
In the health care field as well as most other industries, many resources are wasted in the name of convenience or saving time. Whether it is an increase in plastic applicators, wrapping for various medical supplies, or discarding excess medicines or other unused supplies, managing resources is an area which should constantly be fine-tuned and reassessed so as to streamline any potential waste. Not only do such measures help prevent future waste, but they save on pollution as well as patient and company costs.
5. Provide operational efficiency
From handling patient files to setting up the most effective systems possible to serve patients, clinicians, and others, operational efficiency is one way to lessen the stressors at the workplace and provide a better and more positive environment for patients and clinicians alike. By continually re-evaluating those systems for strengths as well as areas for possible improvement, operational efficiency is maintained and even improved where applicable, thus leading to better quality health care, including better service and less wait time.
6. Provide operational effectiveness
According to BusinessDictionary.com (2018), operational effectiveness is often divided into four components: leading and controlling functional performance, measuring and improving the process, leveraging and automating processes and continuously improving performance. Putting processes into place that help facilitate these components will add to operational effectiveness, thus making health care organizations more efficient and improving the quality of care patients receive.
However, systems should also be put in place to continually review operational effectiveness so as to maintain that effectiveness, as the health care industry is continually growing and changing.
7. Provide Equitable Care
Providing quality health care to every patient, regardless of race, social or economic status, or any other such factors, is another way to deliver quality care in the health care industry. Every patient has the right to good health care, and streamlining processes and procedures to offer the highest quality care to all patients improves the quality of health care for everyone.
8. Provide Patient-centered care
The main focus of the health care industry should be the patient. After all, the end goal is to cure whatever ails the patient or help the patient manage whatever cannot be cured. Thus, by offering patient-centered care, patients receive treatment specifically designed for them. By tending to the individual needs of each patient, the quality of health care improves because the individuality of each case is being taken into account, thus enabling a more precise plan of treatment.
9. Respect time
Respecting time includes respecting the time of patients as well as clinicians and staff in a medical office, hospital or private practice. One way to accomplish this is to have appointment times and to adhere to them as closely as possible. Allowing enough time for appointments so that an office isn’t overbooked with waiting patients. Having enough people on staff to serve all of the appointments booked is another good idea. Being on time for appointments is one way patients can respect others and thus improve the quality of care.
10. Promote preventive care
Preventive care is essential to quality care. It helps lessen doctor and ER visits and reduces health care utilization and costs. Preventive care not only saves money, it also adds to quality of life
According to an article in Population Health Management Journal (Dec, 2016), “Health status at midlife is especially critical to maintaining health while aging, delaying disease and disability onset, managing existing chronic conditions, and enhancing quality of life and well-being during a lifetime”.
Improving the quality of health care in our country is possible by implementing the steps listed above. Patients, doctors, administrative staff and others involved in the health care industry can help to create higher quality health care for everyone.