It goes without saying that when you make certain purchases or research particular products the reputation and quality of such are factored into your decision. Yet, within the realm of healthcare, we take for granted that our doctor or local hospital meet and exceed quality standards around the nation. Unfortunately, this may not be the case, but not necessarily because of the professionals within the businesses. Quality within a service industry may very well come down to the overall standards established as an individual entity.
By no means does this imply that any healthcare professional seek to have a lesser model to work towards or endanger patient health and privacy, yet the quality controls practiced within the organization may unintentionally lead to this result. An overall picture of the positives and negatives may only be painted when there is sufficient data collected, and compiled so as to reveal reality without biases.
The collection and compilation of information seems like it should be straightforward, especially in a world amassed with computer records. An unfortunate characteristic within the healthcare industry is that software programs dedicated to these dynamic needs has not been at the forefront of progress as it has been within other businesses and industries. This game of catch-up has many players and is providing a wide variety of programs, which take in all the necessary details and can generate an image, whether literal or by means of reports that indicates many different answers to questions of how to run a business better. Some of these more clarified images include:
• Loss in timely actions
• Errors in diagnoses and/or treatments
• Poor performance at any level or department
• Need for continuity of further services
• Increase costs to facility due to duplications or lost information
Though this list could be much greater and finely detailed, the general idea that many areas of interest are at stake for losses of time and money. Thus, there is a basis for making changes to combat problematic situations and to be truly productive. Implementing aspects such as data warehousing and identifying process improvement will begin the fine-tuning that will lead to true, provable change.
Obviously, this doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it come about without challenges. Some obstacles that can be predicted before any implementation has occurred include:
• Resistance to change as a general attribute
• Changes require time to implement and to learn
• Processes can be initially slower
• Concerns for privacy may be expressed
However, these may not be all the struggles that are revealed. Other problems may include:
• Easier detection of poor performance
• Individuals who struggle with new technology
• Change of duties or responsibilities
• Changes in business emphases
• Resistance from outside sources (e.g. insurance providers)
• In significant changes, patient feedback may be affected
In a day and age of technological advances and greater need for analytics within healthcare data, the improvements that have been made and are continuing to be made are astounding. To manage or control the quality of care received, it is necessary to employ unbiased knowledge as a means to a better end. This end is a better overall treatment for patients at a lower cost for all involved. Quality control in healthcare equals enhanced medical healing.