What is quality? Within healthcare, there is no universally accepted definition of ‘quality’. However, the following definition is often used: [quality is] the degree to which health and social care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.
Safe – Avoiding harm to patients from care that is intended to help them.
Timely – Reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays.
Effective – Providing services based on evidence and which produce a clear benefit.
Efficient – Avoiding waste.
Person centred – Establishing a partnership between practitioners and patients to ensure care respects patients’ needs and preferences.
Equitable – Providing care that does not vary in quality because of a person’s characteristics
Therefore, health and social care leaders / managers need to actively consider these six dimensions when setting their priorities for improvement.
Often the dimensions are complementary and work together. However, there can sometimes be tensions between them that will need to be balanced. It is also important to take into account different stakeholders’ views about what they feel matters and what the priority areas of focus should be within an organisation.
This is an approach to continuous improvement where changes are tested in small cycles that involves planning, doing, studying, acting (PDSA), before returning to planning, and so on. These cycles are linked with three key questions.
- ‘What are we trying to accomplish?’
- ‘How will we know that a change is an improvement?’
- ‘What changes can we make that will result in improvement?’
Each cycle starts with hunches, theories and ideas and helps them evolve into knowledge that can inform action and, ultimately, produce positive outcomes.
To finalise this is just one method that can be used to improve quality. Having a plan and implementing it is fundamental to improving things. So if things need to be improved do not do nothing as nothing will change.
Here at DJD Social Care we help and support many of our clients using the above principles with a positive outcome. Let us know if we can help you.