The Purpose of Quality Improvement in Healthcare
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The main idea of improvement is that, when a system remains unchanged over time and no enhancements are made, it cannot generate better results than the ones already created. Bringing a change into the system can facilitate the achievement of a new performance level. The inefficient parts of the structure are replaced with new inventions that can prove to be worthy.
In general, on a global scale, the improvement methodologies have started to be implemented in health care, but they were used before in many other industries. The results are now starting to be seen. QI has become an often debated topic in many health care institutions, as many physicians are searching for methods to improve everything that they do.
Over the years, health care costs have increased, causing healthcare professionals to focus their efforts to increasing quality while decreasing costs. There were multiple factors that were responsible for the increase in costs. Among the factors that can be noted, these are the most important: advancements in technology and medicine, the increased importance of treatments and the negligence that people have for prevention, high costs for diseases that intervene in the last years of life and high costs of insurance administration.
In some countries, even if the costs have increased, the actual health care that has been provided has remained at the same level. The resources are in this way badly managed and their allocation is inefficient. However, some facts can prove that the complexity of health services has been increased and the boundaries between specialists, nurses and other medical positions have been removed. There is more independence than before for those who work in the medical field.
The primary goal of a physician is to provide the best services to a patient. In the last years, there have been serious efforts made to motivate physicians to improve the way they treat their patients. By measuring the services offered and by rewarding the doctors who had a high degree of quality, more people can receive better treatment.
In order to obtain high quality, the most important things can be cultivated are teamwork and effective communication. However, physicians and patients are not the only ones who may be interested in quality services. For example, purchasers of health care (employers), in their attempts to reduce waste, would like to have healthy employees as long as they can, in order to decrease costs.
Quality Improvement is not a new concept, but it has not been used in the medical field until recently. The QI implementation results can be seen in many countries, and statistics may show that it is here to stay. Medical professionals, patients, employers, etc. can all take advantage of this implementation.
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