Quality in hospitals seems to be one of the most talked about issues of today. I can understand why it is so important with consumers being more aware, with competition being as high as it is and expected to increase further in the future and with legislation being the way it is for hospitals. Process improvement , documentation and SOP creation seem to be a bare essential for hospitals in the world of today . Honestly speaking i don’t quite know how the past was in an era before 2003 , however the impetus that is laid on quality ever since that era has only grown manyfold over the years.
No ifs and buts about the importance of quality, However what bothers me the most is that quality seems to be the means to an end for most administrators. Historically if we are to look at quality in hospitals , Initially it was the selected few going in for JCI accreditation who sought the ghost of quality, in the lucrative pursuit of medical tourism. Then there were the local champions seeking ISO and Crasyl ratings, remember those times, when we had representatives of accreditation firms shooting quality down our gullets, and of course the most recent turn is NABH. This now seems to be our gold measure for quality and standardisation at least nationally .
But think about it if these are the reasons we seek quality then isn’t the quality itself limited by these reasons. What are we checking for what comes under the purview of quality is it just those 638 parameters defined by NABH 2011 (which might be revised to 736 unofficial sources)that an organisation is assessed against. Is that all there is to quality then aren’t we constraining quality in stray jackets of limited vision.
Quality when taken up as an end in itself is more beneficial to an organisation. Yes i would be wrong in saying go against the norms forget NABH its not quality, because it is and is very important . All I,m saying is that just don’t limit yourself to these parameters. Quality is about consistency, its about clinical outcomes , is about processes , but in the end its about (includes but is not limited to)Patient experience, Consultant relation, Employee experience, and well about anything and anyone that comes in contact with our organisation.
I think a newer approach is required to quality where quality supersedes everything and is not subservient to accreditation. And that is where creativity, innovation, progress and differentiation will come in. I think quality departments need to evolve , they need to expand their visions and grow. Quality parameters must be developed reassessed and re-envisioned intrinsically. Newer methodology other than the existing reaccreditation inspections must be used to assess quality. Innovative cross industrial methods like the Mystery patient a once talked about concept could be re looked at. Seeking VOC (Voice of customer) to define these parameters could be experimented with. Opening channels of communication are essential. Newer technologies such as social media could be experimented with not just for Branding but also to define quality. Its high time we as administrators redefined our quality rather than just measuring it.
In the end Creating freely communicating open organisations that seek quality for the sake of quality is the step forward not just for your Organization but for the industry as a whole. And yes we might not quite be there but surely it would be a move in that direction.
The views expressed in this post are my own and are not meant to be derogatory to any institution or organisation. These are just my thoughts and these are open for further discussion and development. Please do comment and share and lets get some universal cognition into this. Thank you for your patience and tolerance.