Healthcare organizations around the world have taken note of the importance of maintaining high standards of patient care, staff development, and quality patient care practices as it has been proven time again that these elements are key to patient safety. As such, quality improvement efforts have been continuously implemented for decades by various healthcare entities. However, the benefits go beyond the medical front. Research has proven time and again that these elements play a significant role in keeping patients healthy even after their initial hospitalization.
According to these qualities, the definition of healthcare quality would be an evaluation and implementation of safe and effective treatment, reflected by a culture of excellence, which results in the achievement of desired or optimal health. This assessment provides for the improvement of healthcare quality by defining the implication of organizational and professional strategies and practices that promote this improvement. This assessment also allows for the creation of healthcare quality indexes, which serve as a platform for measuring and publishing improvement efforts and contributing to the improvement of healthcare overall. Moreover, quality assessment is a critical component of healthcare quality improvement initiatives that seek to address shortcomings in current methods and procedures, identify improvement opportunities and promote communication and education about quality standards. An evaluation also allows for the identification and determination of shortcomings that may have been contributed to practice, existing practice frameworks, or by external factors.
The importance of quality assessment is highlighted by the fact that the sooner a problem is found, the sooner action can be taken to correct it. Furthermore, quality improvement is based on the understanding that healthcare systems cannot be just repaired. It requires continuous monitoring, evaluation, and benchmarking to ensure that each and every aspect of the healthcare system has been effectively addressed. Moreover, quality assessment is not just about identifying shortcomings but also to find ways to prevent future problems. By effectively communicating the results of quality improvement programs to the public and stakeholders, they can understand the necessity and urgency of these measures.
Another important reason why quality improvement is so essential to healthcare systems is that improving the experience of patients in general helps improve the quality of care received by them. As such, if a patient is satisfied with his or her treatment, this can help promote further treatment that may lead to better long-term outcomes for the patient. For example, in managing cancer, a treatment program that includes complementary therapies can reduce the side effects and improve overall survival among patients who are diagnosed with cancer.
While working to improve healthcare quality, healthcare professionals face a variety of challenges and obstacles. These obstacles include issues regarding the implementation of quality improvement initiatives and practices, training and educational initiatives, and interactions with external agencies and stake holders. As such, many medical professionals view quality improvement initiatives as organizational tasks that require considerable resources and time. In addition, the increased complexity of implementing quality improvement initiatives can make achieving these goals more difficult. Efforts to automate healthcare quality improvement initiatives, including the creation of healthcare quality reporting tool, can also be expensive and time-consuming.
Because of these considerations, healthcare professionals increasingly view quality improvement as a priority not only for their patients but also for the overall profitability of the health care system. The quality improvement initiative has become an important tool for aligning the organization’s vision and mission with the practice’s operational objectives. Additionally, quality improvement has been seen as a way to ensure that an organization maintains the lowest percentage of patient claims. In this regard, hospitals that have implemented quality improvement programs have seen their profit margins increase. Thus, quality improvement provides a solid return on investment for medical institutions in terms of improved patient outcomes and reduced financial cost.
While the correlation between health care quality and financial health was not always clear, quality improvement efforts appear to be having a positive effect on both. For example, studies have shown that health care costs in the United States have decreased by about 9 percent since 2021. Similarly, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, hospitals that improved their patient care reported higher profits than hospitals that did not implement quality improvement initiatives. While profit is a dynamic concept that may change in different industries, healthcare and hospitals appear to share a similar idea of increasing profitability as a result of improved patient outcomes and fewer claims.
Many administrators mistakenly believe that the answer to the question of why is the quality of care important is whether or not they can get paid. This mistaken belief results in a host of problems for healthcare professionals because it can deny them pay increases for their work when in reality they are doing an excellent job. When quality is sacrificed, healthcare administrators are unable to properly perform their core responsibilities, which further compromises their profitability. As a result, many administrators choose to avoid quality care just to save money instead of addressing organizational problems that may be deeper than budgeting. However, administrators should remember that if they ignore quality issues and continually send people to manage when they are not capable of managing, they will be ineffective in their responsibilities and may ultimately be forced out of the healthcare industry. For these reasons, it is imperative that healthcare administrators maintain an effective balance between budgeting and managing to ensure the long term viability and profitability of the healthcare industry.