Prelude-Quality for Hospitals

I will go one step back and want to evaluate whether our approach is correct to our quality journey. The most important step towards quality is to have a commitment from the top management and fixing the goal. This should be captured in the documents (policies, protocols & SOPs) in an appropriate manner. The preparation of the document should not be merely for fulfilling the accreditation criteria but should be followed sincerely. The main challenge is to change the mind-set of the hospital staff towards quality system and it’s the time consuming process which needs to be initiated from the first group of employees. Quality systems is not burden or to identify fault but to improvise and provide the best to the patients.

When we talk about manufacturing industries, the emphasis is on spending more time on planning so that the implementation would be with minimum defect. But in hospital setup we never follow this concept. All quality related activities get initiated after completing the hospital building and starting operations.

In today’s scenario the approach is very different. First a hospital starts operations and while working identify issues and these issues are addressed with temporary fix. Such fix gets routine, thus inspires the management to build a system. Remember such system which is inspired by temporary solutions will always fail. When it start impacting other areas and no way-out get identified, the management starts aggressively focusing on quality systems. This process of self-exploration leads to loss of valuable time and thus impacts the hospital services and financials. Admission & discharge process, OPD processes & infection control, Emergency response are such issue which are never a focus while building an infrastructure or even preparing and following SOPs.

The best approach is to incorporate Quality concept at the beginning of the project. We can’t dissociate it from business plan. By amalgamating efficient processes design and quality systems together, we can optimize cost and can build appropriate infrastructure for patients. This requires to be run from top and to be included in the vision.