Quality within an organization is driven by the needs of customers. All members of a company demonstrate quality in how they carry out the processes to create and deliver its products and services.
Quality improvement (QI) is a systematic, formal approach to the analysis of practice performance and efforts to improve performance.
A variety of approaches—or QI models—exist to help you collect and analyze data and test change. While it’s important to choose a reputable QI model to guide your efforts, it’s more important that you fully commit to using the QI process and good QI practices.
Quality Improvement Basics
The QI process is grounded in the following basic concepts:
- Establish a culture of quality in your practice. Your practice’s organization, processes, and procedures should support and be integrated with your QI efforts. The culture of a practice—attitudes, behaviors, and actions—reflect how passionately the practice team embraces quality. The QI culture looks different for every practice, but may include establishing dedicated QI teams, holding regular QI meetings, or creating policies around your QI goals.
- Determine and prioritize potential areas for improvement. You will need to identify and understand the ways in which your practice could improve. Examine your process (e.g., to identify issues, frequently occurring Quality issues conditions etc)
- Collect and analyze data. Data collection and analysis lie at the heart of quality improvement. Your data will help you understand how well your systems work, identify potential areas for improvement, set measurable goals, and monitor the effectiveness of change. It’s important to collect baseline data before you begin a QI project, commit to regular data collection, carefully analyze your results throughout the project, and make decisions based on your analysis.
- Communicate your results. Quality improvement efforts should be transparent anyone in the organization. Include the entire practice team when planning and implementing QI projects, and communicate your project needs, priorities, actions, and results to everyone. When a project is successful, celebrate and acknowledge that success.
- Commit to ongoing evaluation. Quality improvement is an ongoing process. A high-functioning practice will strive to continually improve performance, revisit the effectiveness of interventions, and regularly solicit patient and staff feedback.
- Spread your successes. Share lessons learned with others to support wide-scale, rapid improvement that benefits of all quality improvement to entire team