The Importance of Healthcare Quality

Attention to quality care is an increasingly important issue in a global economy, particularly in the healthcare field. Healthcare quality is an increasingly important issue particularly in the last decade, with growing demands presented by providers, payers, patients and even policymakers in the hospital environment. What each of these have in common is greater information about quality in the health care system to help direct decisions and efforts related to health care delivery (AHRQ, 2005).

There are multiple quality indicators important for ensuring the quality of service delivery in the hospital or healthcare organization. Among the more commonly cited quality indicators and measurements include indicators for utilization of procedures, admissions, complications, mortality and patient outcome (AHRQ, 2005). Quality indicators in any given setting will vary based on the size of the organization or hospital involved, commitment of management and support staff and financial resources available to provide direct measurements of quality indicators at any given point in time.

For purposes of this analysis a review of the organizational plan and quality indicators and measurements at St. Joseph’s hospital are explored. Among the quality indicators and measurements established for this facility include those for heart attack and pneumonia patients. There is no single method for assessing quality and health care delivery within a hospital setting. Rather, multiple assessment approaches are often necessary to gauge a hospital’s efficacy and ability to provide optimal patient care in any environment. Thus this assessment will include review of multiple quality measures.

Multiple researchers have confirmed the need for a multidimensional model of organizational legitimacy or quality (Ruef & Scott, 1998). Hospital survival in a globalize marketplace requires that healthcare organizations adopt various indicators or measures of quality and continuous improvement (Wilson & O’Grady, 1999). Multiple pressures including the internal pressures associated with providing quality patient care in a traditional organizational hierarchy also necessitate continuous quality improvement in the hospital setting (Arneson ; Carroll, 2003).

Among the key quality indicators identified by the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Governance (AHA) include: patient safety, creating the future, trustee education and health care policy (Arneson & Carroll, 2003). Still others note that quality measures include improved patient outcomes and decreased mortality and morbidity among patients (Arneson & Carroll, 2003). At St. Joseph’s multiple quality indicators and measurements are adopted for promoting continuous quality improvement in all aspects of health care delivery. This facility incorporates the multi dimensional approach described above.

The quality indicators and measurements used depend on the type of care being received by patients. Quality care measurements for heart patients for example include: whether patients given aspirin at arrival, prescriptions given for aspirin at discharge, beta blocker administration on arrival and discharge, smoking cessation training and inpatient mortality (St. Joseph’s, 2005). Pneumonia measurements and indicators include: time from arrival to hospital until medication administered, oxygen assessment completion, blood cultures and smoking cessation education (St. Joseph’s, 2005).

The goals of the quality or continuous improvement program at St. Joseph’s include improving the safety and well being of all patients. To accommodate these goals and objectives the organizational plan includes the following aims: improving the accuracy of patient identification for admission and delivery of health care, improving the efficacy of communication between patients and administrators, patients and health care providers and among caregivers, and eliminating errors and improving the safety of medication administration in general among patients at the facility (St. Joseph’s, 2005).

The hospital is a voluntary and non profit organization committed to providing patients with the highest quality care. Included among the primary care staff at the hospital include multiple health care professionals, administrators and ministers. The quality programs are guided by the National Voluntary Hospital Reporting initiatives and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (St. Joseph’s, 2005). A director of quality works in conjunction with health care administration and providers to ensure that continuous quality improvement is emphasized throughout the hospital structure.

Key results from previous efforts at establishing quality indicators and quality improvement at St. Joseph’s hospital suggest the facility ranks high above average with regard to quality patient care and health care delivery. This includes data suggesting that quality care has reduced the number of mortalities and increased positive patient outcomes and caregiver satisfaction at the facility (St. Joseph’s, 2005). High marks suggest that the quality indicators selected by hospital staff are in line with national protocols and standards for delivering excellence in patient care.

The hospital has committed its staff to continuous training and will likely continue to meet or exceed national expectations for quality care delivery in the healthcare environment through the next decade. Bibliography : AHRQ. (2005). “Refinement of the HCUP Quality Indicators. ” Technical Review Number 4, Available: http://www. ahrq. gov/clinic/epcsums/hcupqisum. htm Arneson, P. & Carroll, L. A. (2003). “Communication in a shared governance hospital: Managing emergent paradoxes. ” Communication Studies, 54(1): 35. Ruef, M.

& Scott, W. R. (1998). “A multidimensional model of organizational legitimacy: Hospital survival in changing institutional environments. ” Administrative Science Quarterly, 43(1): 877-904. St. Joseph’s. (2005) “Quality indicators. ” Available: http://www. stjosephs. org/QualityIndicators. asp St. Joseph’s. (2005). “About us. ” Available: http://www. stjosephs. org/AboutUs. asp Wilson, C. K. & Porter-O’Grady, T. (1999). “Leading the revolution in health care: Advancing systems, igniting performance. ” Gaithersburg: Aspen Publishing.