In healthcare systems, there are several areas that need improvements. This depends on the various hospitals, people or culture in a given area, beliefs and various reasons too. There are various models for improvement, in which, they have two basic components, for instance, it begins by addressing various fundamental questions, like, how can we know if a given change is an improvement?The second part is a vigorous cycle improvement cycle. In this second part of the QI plan we will be dealing with a specific healthcare performance area, discussing the various models of improvement, current technology and various benchmarks and milestone that can be taken for improvement in our plan(Strome, 2013).
Health literacy can be viewed as a degree to which individuals have a capacity to obtain, understand common information that deals with the health care facilities, this is also related to the basic information that is needed in making good and appropriate health care decisions. Quality improvement models are hence needed to attain a suitable health literacy in all of the health care facilities(Carnevale, 2012). We will concentrate on the three common models, which include the Plan-Do-Study-Act model, the lean model commonly referred to the Toyota model in the business world and lastly the six sigma quality improvement model.
Quality improvement models
This method has been widely used by the institute of the healthcare Improvement for a wide range of improvement, this is done so that to make a positive change in the healthcare systems and affecting its outcomes for positive results and hence the use of the Plan-Do-Study-Act model(Carnevale, 2012). This model is capable of impacting and assessing various changes due to its cyclical nature. The primary objective of this model is to come up with a functional relationship between the outcomes and the changes in the process to be specific it concentrates on the behaviors and capabilities of the processes. There are three main questions used before the PDSA cycle, these are:
What is the aim of the project?
How can it be known that the aim of the project has been reached?
What should be done to reach that objective of the project?
The three questions shows the whole process of the Plan-Do-Study-Act from the beginning to the end.
This model was originally designed as a business model or strategy. Six sigma involves designing, improving and monitoring processes, this is to eliminate or minimize waste at the same time maximizing satisfaction and also increasing the financial stability. This process is used to find out the size of improvement by comparing the process ability after looking at the potential solutions for improvements and the baseline process ability that is before the actual improvement. For six sigma to be effective enough there are two main processes used together with it, the first method inspects the process final outcome while the second process uses the estimates to predict the performance of the process, this is attained by calculating the sigma metric from the tolerance that has been defined and also the observed variations.
This method concentrates on the identification of the customers’ needs. Its primary objective is to improve the processes in the healthcare and removing various activities that does not add value to the customer service improvement process also known as non-value-added. The lean method involve maximizing the value added activities in the best process that can be attained, this process is somehow related to the six sigma process and sometimes overlaps with it but differs from each other in the methodology used in each one of the them, sometime it depends on the root-cause analysis to find out the various errors and in improving the quality of the processes(Carnevale, 2012).
From the three models, the best model is the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) this is because, it gives an individual a framework or a good process of reaching the objective. In this method, we see that there are three main questions to be answered, when answering them on comes up with the solution at the end of the process, the other process are good also but does not give the exact way of improving the health literacy in the healthcare facilities.
Information technology applications
Electronic medical records.
Electronic Health Record is also referred to as electronic medical record (EMR). Although there are some notable difference between them, in which Electronic Medical Record can be defined as the records of a patient created in the hospital, and serve as a data source from the EHR. Electronic Health Records are generated and stored as well as being maintained within an institution like hospital, clinics, integrated delivery network, and physician office (Devkota, 2012). This is to allow patients, physicians, health care providers, employers, and insurers to access the medical records of a patient across the facilities. EHR can be defined as a systematic collection of health records of an individual electronically (Hamilton, 2009). It is saved in digital format and theoretically it is believed that it can be shared across different health care places or setting. This sharing is done by using network-connection, also enterprise-wide information systems or any other information exchanges or networks. The electronic medical records may include a specific range of data, which include demographics, medications, medical history, allergies, laboratory test results, immunization status, radiology images, important signs, billing information and personal information like weight and age. This shows that the patient’s records should be safe and secured at all times so that everyone will support the improvements and chance in the health care services.
Clinical decision support systems
This is a system that is designed to help the physicians, clinicians, staff, patients and other health professionals to make rational clinical decisions(Hristidis, 2010). This is an adaptation of a decision support system that is used in business management systems. Sometime this system is behind the advanced electronic health record and hence related in one way or the other.
Form the two information technology systems, the better of the two is the Electronic Health records, this is because it is widely used and has looked on the security of the patient records effectively, apart from the security it has assisted in attaining a good health care literacy and hence coming up with important health decisions on the patients and how to handle their records well. (Miller, 2007).
For a goodhealth literacy systems we need to have good benchmarks that improves the quality of measuring the system. The importance for measuring of quality improvement is using the belief that a good performance shows a good practice and also comparing the performance between various providers and organizations hence resulting to a better performance. We can use the public reporting of a good performance to find out the areas that need improvement of the information that deals with the health of individuals. The healthcare systems are complex and hence making the delivery of health services acquire unpredictable nature. There are agencies that advocate and endorse the measure and use of basic healthcare information that is crucial to attain good health care services, example is the Agency for Health Research and Quality, they advocate the determination of how best or how the risk adjustment is required and testing the measure itself. We can use the external benchmarks, where this is the continual disciple of comparing and measuring the work processes that allows a good spread of the information and hence good health literacy.
Performance and quality measures.
Every organization has it goals and strategies of attaining the goal. Health care systems are complex and may be hard to be understood by the parties involved, this include both the patients and the doctors or physicians, hence there is a need of a good health information and how to convey it (Grover, 2010). Heath care literacy thus allows the organization to stay focused on their goals and strategies, this allows them to have a smooth services and communication among the parties involved(Carnevale, 2012). This is to pull more “customers” to utilize their healthcare facilities. Measures are aligned to the goals of the organizations since their main aim is to attain those specific goals.
Carnevale, A. P., & Georgetown University. (2012). Healthcare. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Center on Education and the Workforce.
Devkota, B., &Buerck, J. (2012). Electronic health records and products recall management for patient safety in health care. Health Renaissance.
Grover, J. (2010). Healthcare. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
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Hamilton, B. (2009). Electronic health records. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education.
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Hristidis, V. (2010). Information discovery on electronic health records. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
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Miller, R., & West, C. (2007). The Value of Electronic Health Records in Community Health Centers: Policy Implications. Health Affairs, 206-214.
Rovner, J. (2003). Health care policy and politics A to Z (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Strome, T. (2013). Healthcare Analytics for Quality and Performance Improvement. Hoboken: Wiley.