If you or a loved one requires a visit to the doctor or a hospital, you want to know that the medical professionals are fully capable of handling your medical issues, the treatment facilities are kept clean, and the equipment is entirely hygienic and functioning correctly. Otherwise, your visit could add more problems to your list, including some potentially fatal consequences. As a result of these concerns, healthcare quality is an important discussion topic for both medical professionals and patients.
According to the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), quality healthcare is care that is measured by six domains: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equitability. Meeting the national objective of providing the highest quality healthcare options to patients is a full-time job. The medical field is always changing, and there is an ever-increasing list of new medical discoveries, but the objective can be accomplished!
As a leading online source for professional courses and certifications, including Six Sigma Black Belt, we at the Management and Strategy Institute understand the importance of continuous improvement and professional development, especially in the medical industry. Here is how ODPHP and the healthcare industry are working to keep healthcare quality as high as possible:
Prioritizing Patient Safety
The safety of all patients is the utmost priority for all professionals in medical facilities. Healthcare systems have to make every effort to prevent errors, learn from mistakes, and manifest a culture of safety, including healthcare organizations, professionals, and patients. Below are two of the significant initiatives sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
- Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections
Healthcare-Associated Infections, or HAIs, are infections patients can get during their treatment for another condition due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens, as well as infectious diseases between healthcare workers and patients, and improper use of antibiotics. These infections can happen in any facility, from ambulances and hospitals to surgical centers, renal disease facilities, and long-term care facilities. 1 in 25 patients in the US suffers from HAIs, causing the HHS to identify HAI-reduction as an Agency Priority Goal.
- Preventing Adverse Drug Effects
Adverse Drug Effects, or ADEs, are injuries or complications stemming from the administration of a drug, such as adverse drug reactions, overdoses, medication errors, and allergic reactions. ADEs in outpatient settings account for 3.5 million+ physician visits, 125,000 hospital admissions, and 1 million emergency room visits; ADEs in inpatient settings account for about one-third of hospital adverse effects, affect nearly 2 million hospital stays annually and prolongs hospital stays between 1 and 5 days. Most ADEs are preventable, and their reduction will create safer and higher-quality healthcare, reduced medical costs, and more educated patients and consumers.
Providing Additional Training and Resources
The best way to avoid HAIs and ADEs is to learn medical best practices and keep up with new research and administration techniques. The US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has a few excellent, accessible training programs to increase healthcare quality, including:
- “Partnering to Heal: Teaming Up Against Healthcare-Associated Infections”
- “Preventing Adverse Drug Events: Individualizing Glycemic Targets Using Health Literacy Strategies”
- “Pathways to Safer Opioid Use” (based on the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention’s recommendations)
The ODPHP also has a comprehensive list of resources available for healthcare professionals and patients to read.
In conclusion, healthcare quality should be a primary concern for healthcare workers, medical professionals, and past, present, and future patients. Continuing to add to and improve educational materials for the healthcare industry is the best way to ensure that facilities and medical professionals are up-to-date. In the same vein, we at the Management and Strategy Institute offer a wide variety of professional certification programs, including healthcare and Six Sigma Black Belt certifications. These programs are ideal for those wishing to develop professionally in virtually any business industry – for more information, scroll through our list of certification programs here, and enroll in one today!