Healthcare Quality and Safety
Healthcare quality is one of the cornerstones of healthcare safety. The security of patients is dependent on the quality of services that the healthcare sector provides. Entities such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM) argue that healthcare safety cannot be distinguished from its quality. It is imperative to define the two terms—safety and quality—to understand the correlation between them. Healthcare quality refers to the degree to which the provision of health services results in the desired outcomes and is in line with health standards as well as up-to-date professional knowledge (Lee, Scott, Dahinten, Vincent, Lopez, & Park, 2017). Organizations that function in this sector have different indicators of high-quality care. The American Academy of Nursing Expert Panel on Quality Health uses indicators such as the achievement of appropriate self-care, perception of being well cared for, health-related eminence of life, demonstration of health-promoting behaviors, and effective symptom management to gauge the quality of care. On the other hand, the IOM delineates patient safety as the prevention of harm to patients. The IOM asserts that when it comes to the safety of patients, the focus should be on having a system of care delivery that prioritizes the prevention of errors, learns from mistakes, and builds a safety culture that involves health care professionals, their organizations, and patients. Some practices are aimed at ensuring healthcare safety, and they include the appropriate provision of nourishment to patients with a focus on early enteral nutrition, particularly among surgical and critically ill patients. The accurate use of antibiotics and other medicines in the treatment, and proper communication with patients and their caregivers to ensure that complications are identified are also essential precautions.
Tenets of Healthcare Quality and Safety
Significant progress has been made in raising an awareness of the challenges that healthcare practitioners face when they provide safe and high-quality care. However, there is always room for improvement. A significant percentage of the global population, including that of the U.S., is unaware of these challenges and need to be told about them (Nash, 2016). Indeed, it is imperative for people to reflect on the causes of the problems that are being faced in the provision of high-quality and safe care. Once it is done, there will be a need to redefine the healthcare system alongside eliminating imminent inefficiencies. The focus must shift from individuals to populations with the emphasis being placed on the four tenets of health quality and safety to achieve these objectives.
The first principle that must be stressed is that healthcare delivery concerns all that benefits the majority, which means that it is population-based (Nash, 2016). Largely, healthcare providers focus on the minority rather than the majority, and thereby play a minimal role when it comes to preserving and ensuring health care quality and safety. The second tenet is that providers and patients ought to have shared responsibility for quality and safety. The principle is important given that quite often either providers or patients take responsibility for quality and care, which should not be the case. The third precept is that chronic care management is a natural place to start focusing on population health quality and safety improvement, which makes it the cornerstone of healthcare quality and safety. The fourth and final theory is that population health quality and safety creates a framework for the advancement of health and wellness (Nash, 2016). The principle guides the operations of practitioners aimed at advancing the health and welfare of patients.
Entities Dedicated to Improving Healthcare Quality and Safety
In the United States, one of the greatest public welfare concerns remains the enhancement of healthcare quality and safety. Some of the entities that have been and remain dedicated to promote healthcare quality and safety in the U.S. include the federal government, state governments, as well as private organizations. Several instances where public and private entities have collaborated to help achieve the objective may be seen. Some of the initiatives put in place by these efforts comprise the establishment of priorities, strategies, and the provision of funding for programs that serve the purpose of addressing the most critical and pressing healthcare issues in society (Nash, 2016).
The national priorities partnership and the healthy people initiative are the most significant schemes that have been put in place by the entities mentioned here with a focus on augmenting healthcare quality and safety. The National Priorities Partnership (NPP), which was convened in 2008 by the National Quality Forum (NQF), is a collaboration that brought together twenty-eight public and private organizations with national influence. NPP partners focus on the advancement of healthcare quality and safety by eliminating harm, reducing disease burden, removing waste, and eradicating disparities that are currently witnessed in the provision and access to healthcare (Nash, 2016). The United States government—through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and aided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—came up with national health priorities in 1979. Later, the Healthy People programs were tasked with setting national public health priorities to be implemented over a ten-year period by organizations at the federal, state, and local levels. For instance, Healthy People 2010 aimed to develop healthcare quality and safety by means of an agenda that emphasized the prevention of illness, increase in the quality and extent of healthy life as well as the elimination of health disparities.
Regulatory Influence of Healthcare Quality and Safety
One of the key steps in ensuring progress in healthcare quality and safety is the initiation of regulatory, legislative, and policy changes at the national, state, and local levels of government. These reforms have made economic and structural support available to healthcare systems in the country. The legislative and regulatory alterations have set the stage for economically sound modifications in matters related to health insurance that are aimed at gaining access to chronic care, enhancing wellness, and prevention activities. Mainly, the legislative and regulatory transformations have altered the manner in which I carry out my operations as a healthcare professional. For instance, some of the regulations stress patient-centered care to elevate healthcare quality and safety. As indicated earlier, the requirement has refined my role in providing health care services since I am forced to focus on individuals rather than populations (World Health Organization, 2016).
The spotlight on the provision of patient-centered care has magnified the health outcomes of patients and reduced the discrepancies that are often associated with access to the needed care and quality. The regulatory changes have also impacted my workflow processes in that they have seen me collaborate and work with other staff members as a team to achieve the objective of providing healthcare quality and safety. With interprofessional and intra-professional partnership that the regulatory changes have put in place, I have managed to mitigate error and increase the resilience of systems to error, which has helped to enhance healthcare quality and safety. As one of the several providers of healthcare services, I have realized efficiency as a result of the regulatory changes, which is a significant step towards the improvement of healthcare quality and safety.
The Influence of My Christian Worldview on Healthcare Quality and Safety
Indeed, there is a close relationship between religions such as Christianity and personal well-being. The relationship is evident in the ability of faith to empower an individual by connecting him or her to a superior force and the community that follows it, thereby providing psychological support in times of stress. Additionally, the facility or tendency is utilized by health professionals to help those struggling with sickness (Rumun, 2014). I believe that the Christian worldview can influence a healthcare professional’s commitment to offer improved healthcare quality and safety as it provides social and emotional support. Colossians 3: 13-14 (The New King James Version) says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Through the emphasis on loving one another, the Christian worldview provides social support. I agree with Rumun (2014) that it enables me as a healthcare professional to establish contact with co-religionists and have a web of social relationships that can assure advanced healthcare quality and safety. The Christian worldview can see both healthcare professionals and patients experience psychological states that lead to better physical conditions in the long term.
Healthcare providers seek to assure healthcare quality and safety for patients. However, they face numerous challenges in achieving their goals. Strictly observing the tenets of healthcare quality and safety mentioned so far could help practitioners to overcome these obstacles. It should also be noted that various entities including federal, state, and local governments have shown a commitment to enhancing healthcare quality and safety. These agencies have initiated regulatory changes that have impacted the way healthcare providers operate as well as the outcomes for patients. The perspective of religion also has a pacifying role to play in the improvement of healthcare quality and safety. Particularly, the Christian worldview promises social and psychological support that allows healthcare providers to form relationships that help them to relate to patients effectively. All these factors together contribute to the well-being of the community.
Lee, S. E., Scott, L. D., Dahinten, V. S., Vincent, C., Lopez, K. D., & Park, C. G. (2017). Safety Culture, Patient Safety, and Quality of Care Outcomes: A Literature Review. Western journal of nursing research, 0193945917747416. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0193945917747416
Nash, D. B. (2016). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Retrieved from http://app.compendium.com/uploads/user/863cc3c6-3316-459a-a747-3323bd3b6428/4c5909e8-1708-4751-873e-4129cb2ed878/File/e558ac0d861a90a5c55cffcc2cfce988/1416502202270.pdf
Rumun, A. J. (2014). Influence of religious beliefs on healthcare practice. Int J Educ Res, 2(4), 37-48. Retrieved from http://ijern.com/journal/April-2014/05.pdf
World Health Organization. (2016). Strategizing national health in the 21st century: A handbook. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/250221/9789241549745-chapter10-eng.pdf;jsessionid=0B6F47B99B813EEA41B51B6241CE614F?sequence=1