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The Two Cornerstones of Improved Healthcare Quality

Patients everywhere deserve the best possible care, but they do not always receive it. Many healthcare organizations today come up well short of where they ought to be with regard to the quality of the treatments and other services they provide.

Healthcare process improvement that makes elevated quality a top priority can transform even the most moribund of organizations in impressive and positive ways. There are a couple of keys to quality improvement in healthcare whose presence must be seen to in virtually every case if reliable progress is to be made.

Laying the Foundation for Steadily Improving Quality

Even healthcare organizations that are deemed most successful can benefit from a steady, long-term focus on quality improvement. Unfortunately, many organizations simply lack the tools and infrastructure needed to carry such initiatives out. Even so, it will generally be possible to get off to a good start once a pair of simple pieces has been put into place. In particular, healthcare organizations that are committed to improving their quality levels need to account for:

Measurement. Healthcare quality can be difficult to define, but it is never impossible to do so. The only way to be sure that quality-oriented strategies and tactics are actually yielding fruit is to have some established means of measuring the results they produce. There are quite a few relatively clear-cut ways to document and measure healthcare outcomes and related issues, along with many others that can be useful in particular situations. Whether a healthcare organization needs to focus on installing additional instrumentation or creating better ways of gathering results, measurement will always be important.

Management. Even once measurement and analysis have become habitual, it will always be necessary to have means of acting on the results. The subject of quality management in healthcare is of central importance to any organization that will not be satisfied with standing still. Empowering particular stakeholders to take action is an important component of the overall pursuit, but not the only one. There must also be a widespread recognition that improving quality will require the acceptance and active embrace of change, even when that is most difficult.

Serving Patients at an Even Higher Level

Healthcare organizations that account for issues like these early on will inevitably be more successful when it comes to improving quality. Although it will always take some work to prepare in these and related ways, the returns that follow will continue for a long time to come. In the end, that can benefit patients more than almost any other type of investment.