Risk assessment tools are meant to increase awareness and understanding of the hospitals policies and goals. Quality in health care can be defined as” the degree to which services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge (Hughes, 2008). Mistakes are not always due to human error, it could be that the procedure or policy in place may not be up to date, or it may just be flawed in general. That is where the hospital will create a Quality Assurance (QA) department because continued process improvement will be a necessity to ensure patient safety. The main purpose of this department will be the same issues that the hospital gets inspected for accreditation purposes and then some. The QA department will review all policies and procedures in place one department at a time. This is to include policy and staff evaluations, surveillance and monitoring. The results will then be compiled and any modifications will be made as needed.
The goal of the QA department will be to ensure the staff consistently takes the appropriate actions and to meet or exceed any and all standards set by the hospital. There will also be continuous audits conducted by the QA department to ensure quality standards are never compromised. Audits are to encompass everything from verifying that charts are documented accordingly, all the way to making sure that the spills are cleaned up promptly to avoid possible patient slip and fall, all part of patient safety. All departments of the hospital will be monitored equally. The end results of the QA department will be a reduction in waste, increased efficiency, reduce costs, increase in profits, better team spirit and most importantly, more improved patient safety. Patient safety does not just happen by chance, it takes hard work, planning and staff involvement and always considering the safety of the patients. Each department will be assessed individually. Initial assessments will take longer than the follow up assessments due to understanding and documenting the needs of the individual departments various goals.
Next, policies and procedures will be introduced, monitored and audited according to the QA standards. Whenever an issue arises in patient safety, a QA crew made up of Administrators, licensed professionals, hourly staff, and an outside consultant will conduct a full investigation. They will start with the patient’s first initial contact with staff and all subsequent contact thereafter until the error in patient safety can be found. Once the error has been located, it will then be decided if it was due to human error, which would lead to retraining for all involved with the error, or if it is a flaw in the policy or procedure a complete investigation will be conducted so the appropriate policy or procedure modification may be made. Since the QA department cannot monitor every department all the time, Quality circles are groups of staff within the hospital that encourages peer-driven quality improvements (Gerlach, F.).
These groups will assist the QA department to make sure that patient safety is on everyone’s mind, even if the QA department is not currently monitoring their particular department. These circles can meet monthly or bi-weekly to discuss possible process improvements in a safe, constructive environment. The suggestions or concerns will then be presented to the QA department for further follow up. Bottom line, it is not a pleasant experience to have someone watch your every move, or to know that every step is scrutinized, but it is all for a good cause, patient safety is first priority. While the QA process maybe uncomfortable, or unfamiliar, remembering that as long as it makes the time the patient is in the care of the hospital safer, will make it all worthwhile.
GERLACH, F., BEYER, M., & ROMER 1, A. (n.d.). Quality circles in ambulatory care: state of development and future perspective in Germany. Oxford Journals | Medicine | Int. Journal for Quality in Health Care. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from http://intqhc.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/1/35.full.pdf Hughes, R. (2008, April). Tools and Strategies for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety – Patient Safety and Quality – NCBI Bookshelf. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2682/