Pathway Perspectives: Quality Outcomes
The road to achieving quality outcomes is not a simple destination but an ongoing journey. There are days when it feels like it is all “pedal to the metal” and then other days filled with multiple detours. When we experience a quality “roadblock,” it may be easy to assume that the cause is related to staff non-compliance. However, under careful inspection, the actual cause could be due to a breakdown involving specific QAPI processes that make compliance difficult to achieve.
This is why it is important to have the right tools (or processes) and your team members engaged in the quality process journey to keep an eye on the road ahead to avoid issues and re-tool along the way. Below are a few of our perspectives.
A Data-Driven + Proactive Team Approach is a Must
Quality Assurance (QA) and Performance Improvement (PI) is the coordinated application of two mutually-reinforcing aspects of a quality management system. QA is both anticipatory and retrospective in its efforts to identify how the organization is performing, including where and why facility performance is at risk or has failed to meet standards, while PI (also called Quality Improvement – QI) is continuous study and improvement of processes.
Working together, QAPI takes a systematic, comprehensive and data-driven approach to maintain and improve safety and quality that involves a proactive approach of all staff members in practical and creative problem-solving ways. This may all seem pretty straight-forward; however, sometimes roadblocks occur even when all lights are green.
Consider the following:
- Start by implementing processes that focus on residents’ needs first. This will ensure that issues are correctly prioritized and impactful.
- Involve all team members to identify opportunities for improvement and address gaps in systems or processes.
- Identify specific problems or trends that are not as favorable as expected, such as unnecessary readmissions.
- Promote collaboration across all departments and disciplines to identify gaps and improvements that are needed.
Understanding and embracing the key components to the QAPI process can assist in the development of a proactive plan (or route) to improve areas that can impact quality outcomes.
Reinforce a Continuous Improvement Mindset
Auditing, monitoring, and ongoing surveillance help identify any opportunities for improvement and answer the “why” and “how” roadblocks occur. If small breaks in processes can be quickly identified and corrected before becoming a huge concern, the true beauty of QAPI can be realized.
Including all staff is crucial throughout the continuous improvement process. If your QAPI process is top-heavy with management and involves only a few frontline staff, the team may not feel free to share their individual observations. Consider pivoting your continuous improvement process to include mostly frontline staff from all departments and a few management members to help direct and assist. If all staff feel that they can share their perspective openly and honestly, deeper insight into root causes and potential fixes will be realized.
This mindset will help to reinforce a best practice approach to care that is consistently applied by all staff and successful quality outcomes.
Supporting Your Quality Roadmap
As leaders, we need to recognize that achieving sustainable quality outcomes cannot be accomplished by working alone. Take time to re-fuel your team with training and resources that support their individual success, so they are equipped to support a quality-focused culture. Consistently celebrate successes accomplished and barriers that have been overcome throughout your journey.
A quality approach is a way of doing business and should serve as a foundation for each of our organizations. QAPI is an ongoing journey that, at times, needs to be re-routed and re-focused to make sure your team stays on the correct road to improved quality outcomes.