Managing Health Care Quality in Sunlight Hospital in California
Sunlight Hospital in California has been very successful in delivering legitimate healthcare needs to the local community. The hospital administrator is focused on ensuring that optimal quality of care is accorded within the vicinity of the hospital. The administrator, through research, discovered that patients made complaints on the quality of care and recommended that there be certain improvements in care. There needs to be a model shift in the quality of care so as to create value, increase efficiency, and in the long run, make Sunlight Hospital the local health center of choice. The administrator suggests that there need to be certain measurements of quality of care and specifies main features in health care organizations that can be used to design successful quality improvement plans in an effort create an edge in the health care industry.
Measurements of quality of care in a hospital
Quality measures of care are meant to assess care across the range of healthcare delivery from the level of physicians to that of the health insurance schemes. There are numerous quality measures that are utilized in healthcare that can be broadly classified into four broad categories, which are structure, process, outcome, patient experience and balancing measures.
- Structure measures
Structure measures in health care quality are meant to evaluate the infrastructure that is utilized in health care settings. Such can include hospital facilities or even the offices of doctors so to assess whether they are capable of delivering care. The measures include the staffing of facilities, their capabilities, availability of resources, and even the policy environment of care delivery (Caitlin Morris, 2014). Structure measures are often utilized by insurance companies and even regulators who are meant to determine whether the health care provider has certain capabilities that are needed to deliver high-quality care. Patients tend to consider the accreditation of facilities before attending them and not meeting this measures could keep patients at bay. Patients also consider the kind of equipment and resources a health care facility has before attending it. However, structural measures have a limitation where they can determine if a hospital can perform certain functions but cannot determine if such functions occur. For instance, accreditation might require that providers use electronic health records that a provider can purchase but still continue to use paper records. Such a provider meets the structural requirement but does not meet the quality objectives thus patients might not contend with the quality of care they get in such an institution.
- Process measures
Process measures are often utilized to determine the extent to which providers give patients specific services that are consistent with the recommended guidelines of care. The measures are linked to procedures known to improve the health status of patients or further prevent future health conditions and complications. These measures are useful since they ensure providers have a straightforward and actionable way to improve performance (James Nininger, 2012). Examples of a process measure can be if physicians are prescribing appropriate drugs to diabetic patients or nurses are checking their feet consistently for wounds. Patients utilize this information to determine the best health care facility that will ensure they are completely healed in the shortest time possible. Even though process measures typically represent professional standards of care, they do not necessarily predict outcomes on a consistent basis. It is imperative for proper process measures to be backed with evidence that can link a process to improved outcomes for sustainable quality to be met that befits patients.
- Outcome measures
Outcome measures are meant to evaluate the health of patients due to the care they have received. These measures consider the effects that care has on the health status of a patient and assess whether the goals of care have been met. Patients are solely interested in them surviving their illnesses and improving their physical and mental health and not necessarily on the clinical process that support those outcomes. These measures are imperative to hospitals since they incorporate information on how satisfied patients are and the possibility of them using the facility again in future or even recommending it to another (Hunter L, 2011). Outcome measures should be developed with patients’ preferences, needs, and values in mind. Examples of outcome measures that patients use are the rate of amputations for patients suffering from diabetes or even the percentage of cancer patients going into remission. Outcome measures are particularly more useful to patients if they are presented together with relevant information on cost.
- Patient experience measures
Patient experience measures provide feedback on the kind of experience the patient goes through during their care, and it includes social aspects. These measures can also assess many other aspects of care that range from the clarity of doctors and accessibility of information from physicians. Research establishes that positive patient experiences have a well-documented relationship to clinical quality (Caitlin Morris, 2014). Patients who have better care experiences are more engaged in their care and are more committed to treatment and medical advice. Examples of patient experience measure could include the time patients waited before being seen or even if the patient’s health questions were answered accordingly. Patient experiences need to be developed with patient input since they will reveal to what extent care is patient-centered. If patients have the best experience regarding the quality of care and human interaction, then they are happier in their healing process and capable of exclusively attending the facility that meets this requirement.
- Balancing Measures
Balancing measures look at other sectors of the organization or even system to ensure that nothing changes when the improvement is implemented. An example of such a measure is the verification that there is no increase in readmission rates when attempts are being made to reduce the length of stay in hospitals.
Features in health care organizations used in designing quality improvement plans
It is imperative for health care organizations designing success quality improvement plans to have the right culture in their organizations so that the quality flourishes. Sunlight Hospital should create the right culture as this is essential to achieving a successful approach that can create useful and efficient hospital outcomes. In a bid to achieve this, the hospital should establish a clear mission that is related to quality, and performance measurement that has its targets consistent with the mission that has been outlined. Strong leadership should be exhibited by the CEO and the Board, and clear communication strategies and guidelines should be put in place to embolden technicians, nurses, and physicians to report errors and coordinate accordingly (James Nininger, 2012). If all these are implemented accordingly then, the plan can be a success but if neglected then it would be catastrophic.
Another important feature for success is having the right team of staff to accomplish the goals set by attracting and retaining the right people who can promote quality. If the staff is not competent and motivated enough then they will not be able to deliver on quality care. Sunlight Hospital should engage in selective hiring and retention of excellent staff, offer competitive salaries, and offer constant training and appraisals for staff.
The third important feature is having the right process where health care systems devise and update the right in-house processes that can lead to quality improvement. Leading hospitals are known for engaging in quality improvement processes that are marked by constant measurements and combinations of standardizations and commitment to holding everyone accountable (Robert A. Berenson, 2013). Sunlight Hospital should select a set amount of measurable quality indicators and dedicate qualified staff to analyze the data involved.
The other important feature is giving the staff the right tools and support that they need to practice high-quality care. Sunlight Hospital needs to invest in Information IT and quality improvement departments to meet quality goals. The hospitals need to work with physicians to customize an information system that can meet the particular needs of the institution and devise them in a manner that they provide real-time feedback to providers as they care for patients.
Quality Improvement within the Sunlight Hospital will ensure that the health care is patient-centered and service oriented. Quality measures put in place would ensure that patients can recover quickly in an environment that is properly suited for both the staff and patients. If Sunlight Hospital invests in a proper quality improvement system, then patients will be happier with the kind of services they will receive and urge others to seek medical assistance from the hospital. Repeat Patients will be common, and the hospital will be serving a greater number of patients within the locality as compared to other hospitals. These characteristics if achieved would form the salient reasons due to quality management that forms competitive advantage.
Caitlin Morris, K. B. (2014). Measuring Health Care Quality: An Overview of Quality Measures. Families USA, 1-16.
Hunter L, M. J. (2011). Leading Quality through the Development of a Multi-year Corporate Quality Plan: Sharing The Ottawa Hospital Experience. Healthcare Quarterly,, 14(2).
James Nininger, L. H. (2012). A Guide o developing and assessing a quality plan for health care organizations. University Health Network.
Robert A. Berenson, P. J. (2013). Achieving the Potential of Health Care Performance Measures. Washington: Urban Institute.