A healthcare organization is a complex system; thus, it is not easy to determine and prioritize areas that could be improved. The federal agency outlines three types of measures including structural, process, and outcome measures that health professionals can utilize to assess quality improvement processes of various health settings. Structural measures may help nurses to understand a health setting’s capacity, systems, and processes put in place to aid in the provision of high-quality care to patients. Through the adoption of these measures in the assessment of the QI process, nurses may understand what strategies or procedures a given health facility may have put in place to maintain or improve the health status of patients. Outcome measures may help nurses to understand the impact of healthcare services provided by a particular health facility.
The health industry encounters administrative and regulatory complexities that make it difficult for health systems to achieve various health objectives, such as improving the patient experience of care, reducing clinicians and staff burnout, increasing the ratio of health providers to patients, and improving treatment procedures. Health facilities report hundreds of clinical incidents related to poor health outcomes that are often as a result of challenges faced within organizational structures and treatment processes. Health providers can manage these complexities by evaluating various quality improvement measures including structural, process, and outcome measures.
Evaluation of organizational structural aspects is one of the most effective ways through which nurses can measure quality improvement processes in the health settings in which they. This approach may enable nurse leaders to understand a health setting’s capacity, systems, and processes that have been put in place to aid in the provision of high-quality care to patients (Summers, 2019). Some of the structural aspects that nurse leaders can assess to determine whether or not a health setting has incorporated health quality improvement strategies include the number or proportion of certified health professionals the facility has hired or recruited, physician-to-patient ratios, and the type of technology that has been incorporated in the organization (Summers, 2019). Health settings that have put in place quality improvement processes have a high number or proportion of certified and registered physicians and nurses, balanced physician-to-patient ratios, and the use of an advanced type of health-related technology such as electronic medical records and medication order entry systems.
Nurses can also determine whether a health setting has incorporated quality improvement strategies is by evaluating the treatment processes. This strategy may help these professionals to determine if a health setting’s treatment processes adhere to the standards recommended for care (Doyle, Graves & Gruber, 2017). The strategy may also help to inform nurses about the treatment procedures that a health setting has integrated to aid in addressing the health conditions of the diverse patient population. Some of the aspects that can help nurses to determine whether or not a health setting’s treatment processes are effective include whether the facility provides disease preventive services, the length of patient wait time, and the percentage of patients who receive healthcare services at the facility daily. Health facilities with quality improvement processes are associated with the provision of disease preventive services and a high percentage of patients who receive health services at the setting daily.
Assessment of outcome measures is another strategy that nurses can adopt to measure the effectiveness of a health setting’s quality improvement process. This strategy may help a nurse to understand the impact of the healthcare services delivered or medical interventions on the health status of patients (Doyle et al., 2017). nurses can assess various aspects, such as mortality, the safety of care, readmissions, and patient experience, to know the effectiveness of a health setting’s processes (Doyle et al., 2017). A health setting that aims at providing high-quality services experiences a low mortality rate of patients, a low number of patient readmissions, and high patient satisfaction.
Nurses can measure the quality improvement processes of various health settings by evaluating the structural, health process, and outcome aspects. Assessment of the mentioned aspects may help nurses to understand what strategies various health facilities may have put in place to achieve numerous health objectives, including increasing the number of certified health professionals within the industry, improving the health status of patients, ensuring that health facilities provide disease preventive services. The approach may enable nurses to identify and address some gaps that may exist within a particular health facility.
Doyle, J., Graves, J., & Gruber, J. (2017). Evaluating Measures of Hospital Quality. https://doi.org/10.3386/w23166
Summers, B. L. (2019). Quality Assurance Process Improvement. Effective Processes for Quality Assurance, 65-70. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429056062-9