Healthcare organizations vary in their particular strategies and objectives, but is it safe to say that all healthcare organizations are concerned with quality and patient safety. These issues affect patient care, costs, and patient and employee satisfaction (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 311). Measuring and improving quality are vital for healthcare providers and professionals.
Ethically, it is an organizations’ obligation to provide the best and highest quality of care, the financial aspect of the health care organization can be affected both negatively and positively by the quality of the health services provided. Accountable care organizations are leaning towards the idea of rewarding quality, while commercial payers are supporting the participation of quality improvement efforts made by healthcare organizations. The standards of quality are constantly rising. Quality improvement is permanent in the health care industry.
To achieve any and all organizational strategies, there must be alignment between human resources practices, and those strategies (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 311). Practices through human resources can be formulated to support quality improvement initiatives. Healthcare organizations following a quality improvement strategy have to interpretatively review and alter their specific human resource practices trying to obtain and secure the practices that support their quality goals. The positioning of quality improvement with the help of human resource practices can include the assistance from many features. These features involve key issues in quality, process improvement, human resource tools, team effectiveness, and multiple other factors.
Quality and Quality Improvement
The meaning of quality can vary, all depending on a person’s formal role or outlook on the topic. Quality can be defined as the degree in which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 312). Quality alludes to establishing that each patient receives the correct care at the correct time. The Institute of medicine (IOM), a leader in patient safety and quality, provides a more formal definition, describing quality as “the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge” (IOM 1990, 5). Quality is an essential target in the overall mission of a healthcare organization.
Particular characteristics aid in the success of a high quality healthcare system. These characteristics may include its safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, how efficient it can be, how equitable it can be, etc. Nonfulfillment in more than one of these characteristics may lead to lower quality of care and has the potential to limit the benefits offered to the patients and employees. Quality improvements address issues from two separate perspectives, a prospective and a retrospective. A special significance is also given to the systems and processes.
A central question in the quality improvement era is “How can we improve our processes, the system, to improve outcomes of value to the organization?” (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 313). The considerations and observations are mostly given to the system as a whole, compared to the human role in a quality situation. But it is also important to note that responsibility for quality can be held in both management and employees of a health care organization. Due to the healthcare environment and workplace actively changing, quality improvements may come up with a solid solution to an issue but quality improvements do not fully end with one solution.
Key Quality Issues
Diagnosing problems and reviewing situations is typically the first step in quality improvement. Exercising the use of health care services can be constituted in many categories of quality and even patient issues regarding safety. Utilization can impact the healthcare workplace. Overuse, underuse, and misuse of care are all challenges of utilization. Each set of problems directly correlates with certain causes and implications.
Overuse in a medical setting is when a patient receives care, treatments, or drugs without medical justification being present. Because of overuse, costs and expenses for the patient have the ability to grow higher and higher, while still exposing them to increased risk. On the other side of the spectrum, underuse refers to issues and the failure of providers to support patients with the appropriate medical care and choose to not follow the necessary guidelines. Underuse can be linked to structural issues, and can usually be solved with process-related resolutions.
Lastly, misuse is when diagnoses are incorrect, medical errors arise, and other preventable conditions come into play. Misuse transpire when incorrect care is produced, or when patients are given the mistaken care. Misuse typically either harms patients or prevents them from experiencing the full benefit of a treatment (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 314). Solutions can be found to potentially resolve these quality issues. Electronic health records are one example of how health care professionals can try to improve their care while reducing the misuse of health care services.
The Importance of Human Resources
For quality improvements to initiate favorable outcomes support from management can be beneficial, but impactful execution requires true participation from employees at each rank. Both human capital and data are needed for quality improvement methods. With quality improvement initiatives, a team, orientation, and training should be at hand for the most valued results. The effectiveness of the quality improvement process frequently depends on team members working together as a team and the team’s ability to make an impact on the broader healthcare system (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2017). If a team faces many challenges and is showing flawed characteristics, whatever human capital that is existing will not be able to reach its maximum potential. Using teams in improvement efforts will not only bring a team approach but it is also a chance to share collective knowledge and insight to data and situations as well.
Team Effectiveness and Human Resource Practices
Human resource strategies help support quality improvements. Human resource practices aid in the success of quality improvement efforts. These practices include: employee recruitment and selection, communication and culture, management style, performance management, training, organizational structure, human resource systems, etc. All of the human resource practices listed are associated with the success of the quality improvement efforts and for the overall aim of advancement in the healthcare organization. A team-based approach offers much more than an individual-based approach. A team-based approach is typically more responsive and moving in quality improvement efforts.
By understanding factors at the organizational level that support team effectiveness, managers can better inform their decisions and actions to more effectively foster team effectiveness (Fottler & Fried, 2018, p. 325). These factors include, individual-level factors, team-level factors and organizational-level factors. Multiple factors should be considered when evaluating the individuals at the employee level. A main focus for mangers is to put effort into finding the proper employees to incorporate into their quality improvement teams. Managers must also focus on the overall growth and expansion of the skills and comprehension that allow the employees to contribute to the team’s efforts.
When it comes to team-level factors, the composition of the team, the way the team is lead, and how fluent their work is when they’re together are all vital aspects to their purpose. Team composition also adds to the importance of the team-level factors, while organization culture adds to organization-level factors. An organizational culture that braces quality improvement comes up with hope that individuals are a key principle in the improvements being made. Managers should always influence and have a mindset of having an obligation to develop an organization culture that supports the idea of quality improvement in the workplace.
Human resource practices can be interconnected with the functional features of quality improvement teams. Quality improvement must always be actively managed and set a priority in the health care organizations. Teamwork will always be in the highest of importance, demonstrating positive behaviors, having a sense of understanding, and choosing to be an effective team member will only increase the chances of quality improvement. Quality improvement is crucial in the health care industry, meaning it should be instilled in each individual, team, and management leader.