If improving treatment and patient care is the goal, then we need to help clinicians and support their pursuit of quality improvement initiatives.
In a study published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care, researchers at Sacramento, Calif.-based UC Davis Health analyzed survey responses from 212 clinicians and measured self-efficacy and effectiveness of clinicians in conducting and leading QI activities.
Five main factors that increased clinicians’ effectiveness in QI:
1. Dedicated time for quality improvement.
2. Working within multidisciplinary improvement teams.
3. Professional development in QI, including formal training inside and outside the organization and QI organizational memberships.
4. Ability to select areas for improvement that the clinician views as high priority or that interests them.
5. Organizational values and culture that support QI.
The study also found that some of the most successful clinical QI initiatives focused on improving patient safety and reduction in medical errors, reducing waits and delays in care, reducing overuse of unnecessary services, improving patient- and family-centered care, and/or reducing health disparities.
Even in non-crisis situations, these suggestions are easier said than done on paper.
Hospitals are under siege and medical personnel now work double-time to accommodate patients while at the same time expected to research clinical protocols to help those with COVID. Time has become scarce while the quality improvement, along with other initiatives take a backseat.
This is precisely the reason why healthcare IT is becoming a significant ally in the medical front. With the use of systems and digital applications, medical staff and clinicians can reduce manual interventions and duplicate efforts and ensure that coordination among teams needs to be quick and timely.
With the urgency and pressure required for overworked personnel to deliver patient services, the risk of committing medical errors also increases. From missed diagnosis and protocols to accidental medication errors, any of these can be fatal. The use of clinical decision support embedded into systems reduces clinical variability. These tools alleviate the cognitive stress suffered by clinicians and ensure strict observance of correct protocols much like pilots rely on checklists before the plane leaves the tarmac.
At Exist, we believe that digitally-transformed healthcare institutions can provide better patient services by tearing down information silos—keeping various working departments in sync at all times. From operational to clinical processes, enterprises of all types have already taken advantage of IT systems’ ability to keep transactions moving efficiently and well-coordinated.
However, employing healthcare systems is still just a part of the whole care quality ecosystem. Doctors and medical personnel remain vital for they are the ones equipped with the abundant knowledge required to treat the patient. It is the same knowledge that also needs to be continuously reviewed, tested, and updated. A task that can be impossibly difficult given the massive amount of information we all now have to deal with.
But innovative solutions do exist and we are proud that Wolters Kluwer Health has chosen us to be one of their partners to help Filipino clinicians by providing medical resources needed at the point of care in a 21st-century manner.
The benefits are multifold. Through UpToDate and Lexicomp, clinicians access valuable and updated medical information at the point of care — one that promotes and strengthens the use of evidence-based care. At the same time, provide hospitals with a powerful tool that keeps quality improvement initiatives for personnel moving continuously as new and updated research becomes available in any part of the world.