[ANSWERED 2023] Identify a quality improvement opportunity in your organization or practice. In a 1,250-1,500 word paper, describe the problem

Written By: Dan Palmer, RN

Identify a quality improvement opportunity in your organization or practice. In a 1,250-1,500 word paper, describe the problem or issue and propose a quality improvement initiative based on evidence-based practice

Identify a quality improvement opportunity in your organization or practice. In a 1,250-1,500 word paper, describe the problem or issue and propose a quality improvement initiative based on evidence-based practice. Apply “The Road to Evidence-Based Practice” process, illustrated in Chapter 4 of your textbook, to create your proposal.

Include the following:

  1. Provide an overview of the problem and the setting in which the problem or issue occurs.
  2. Explain why a quality improvement initiative is needed in this area and the expected outcome.
  3. Discuss how the results of previous research demonstrate support for the quality improvement initiative and its projected outcomes. Include a minimum of three peer-reviewed sources published within the last 5 years, not included in the course materials or textbook, that establish evidence in support of the quality improvement proposed.
  4. Discuss steps necessary to implement the quality improvement initiative. Provide evidence and rationale to support your answer.
  5. Explain how the quality improvement initiative will be evaluated to determine whether there was improvement.
  6. Support your explanation by identifying the variables, hypothesis test, and statistical test that you would need to prove that the quality improvement initiative succeeded.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

Rubric Criteria

  • Problem or Issue in Practice or Organization 7.5 points
  • Significance of Quality Improvement in Practice or Organization 15 points
  • Demonstration of Support from Previous Research 22.5 points
  • Steps Necessary to Implement Quality Improvement Initiative 22.5 points
  • Evaluation of Quality Improvement 22.5 points
  • Identification of Variables, Hypothesis Test, and Statistical Test 15 points
  • Thesis Development and Purpose 10.5 points
  • Argument Logic and Construction 12 points
  • Mechanics of Writing  7.5 points
  • Paper Format 7.5 points
  • Documentation of Sources 7.5 points

Total 150 points

Identify a quality improvement opportunity in your organization or practice. In a 1,250-1,500 word paper, describe the problem or issue and propose a quality improvement initiative based on evidence-based practice

Expert Answer and Explanation

Quality Improvement Proposal

Pediatric care centers are crucial in addressing the health needs of children, but they face issues that risk plaguing the entire healthcare industry. Among these issues include care variation, communication breakdown across patients and between providers, patient discharge variations, and avoidable medical errors. The initiation of quality improvement initiatives helps to address some of these issues by devising strategies to better-face the associated challenges (Randmaa, 2016).

Following its quality improvement initiative regarding communication errors, Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, NC was among the facilities that won the 2013 Pediatric Quality Award Winners (Children’s Hospital Association, 2020). Nurse leasers and other people who are vision bearers in hospitals are expected to lead in these quality improvement projects, which would not only help in saving the associated monetary damages, but would also add to the patient satisfaction.

Overview of the Problem and the Setting in which the Problem Occurs

Communication errors in facilities often have the impact of creating teamwork breakdowns, which results in medical errors as well as poor patient outcomes. Also, facilities with communication breakdowns often have higher costs of care as well as prolonged length of stay. Among the common causes of communication errors in healthcare is the lack of proper education among healthcare providers as well as among patients.

Whenever the patients, for instance, are unable to interpret the message of the healthcare givers, they often create a communication gap that leads to ineffective healthcare. Also, healthcare givers who do not have the right education about dealing with different patient care outcomes are likely to result in communication errors (Boling, 2020).

There are many settings for the problem to occur, but most of the time, communication errors happen where there is interaction between people in the healthcare set up. For instance, during patient discharge, the healthcare providers give various instructions to patients to enhance their wellbeing while away from the facility. If there is a communication challenge, it is likely that they cannot experience the right recovery.

Why a Quality Improvement Initiative is needed in this Area and the Expected Outcomes

A quality improvement initiative is needed in this area because this is an area of care where failure is likely to lead to numerous inefficiencies. If there is no intervention regarding communication errors, it is likely that a facility will be less capable of addressing the patient care demands. Clinicians who communicate wrongly do not have what it takes to listen, explain, and emphasize the effect of functional and biological outcomes.

Also, the fact that clinicians have thousands of patient interactions in the course of their career means that a misunderstanding about a communication error may lead to lifelong effects on their career by repeating numerous mistakes on patients.

Also, in healthcare, there are competing demands that show that communication errors leads to adverse effects on patient privacy, which has recently become a healthcare concern due to the introduction of technology and other modern means of communication. Solving communication errors helps in embracing better evidence-based practice and improving the care outcomes.

How the Results of Previous Research Demonstrate Support for the Quality Improvement Initiative and the Projected Outcomes

Omura et al. (2017) discusses about some of the implication of assertiveness communication training programs among nursing students and healthcare professionals. The research identifies communication errors as part of the reasons why there are numerous negative effects on patient safety. Healthcare providers should acquire the necessary skills to eliminate patient risk through improving the communication methods and avoiding the occurrence of communication errors (Omura et al., 2017).

There is also evidence that interventions improve assertive communication is often more efficient in some groups. Also, teamwork in healthcare is only possible with the help of the relevant communication strategies.

Grahramanian et al. (2017) explains some of the aspects of nurse-physician professional communication that helps in improving the overall quality of healthcare services. The study investigates the relationship of healthcare services from the perspective of patients with nurse-physician professional communication (Grahramanian et al., 2017). Organizational culture which helps in solving medical errors should be made to embrace non-punitive response. Also, efforts that are geared in reduction of communication errors are efficient in the implementation of relevant teamwork practices that help in improving care outcomes.

Hassan (2018) discusses some of the effects of avoiding medication errors by embracing effective communication in healthcare environments. The researchers in this study identify ineffective communication between healthcare personnel and patients as one of the primary causes of medication errors (Hassan, 2018).

Healthcare givers should only use technical language among themselves, but when relating to patients, they should appreciate that this technical language could lead in communication voids in care (Hassan, 2018). Also, constant knowledge and support among patients can help to promote effective practice in hospitals as well as improve the care outcomes.

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Steps Necessary to Implement the Quality Improvement Initiative

The quality improvement initiative suggested in this task is the implementation of education on how to improve communication during daily rounds. When this technique was applied in Duke Children’s hospital, it led to numerous outcomes including a 34% increase in provider satisfaction (Children’s Hospital Association, 2020).

While rounding is a common thing to happen in facilities, most healthcare givers do not know how to do it efficiently. In many instances, communication is considered to be a native skill, and people are not taught about how exactly it should be done. As a result, there are often numerous assumptions that lead to enveloping of medical errors.

The first step in implementing this initiative is collecting all the available resources for communication improvement in healthcare. These would include possible human resources to aid in the growth of patient outcomes. Second in the implementation of this quality improvement initiative would be collection of the most recent evidence-based resources to guide in the process. Lastly, different patient and healthcare giver education platforms would be identified, with the relevant time and resource allocation to the same to ensure effective outcomes.

How the Quality Improvement Initiative will be evaluated to Assess whether there is Improvement

A quarterly evaluation is always effective in ensuring that the initiative works efficiently. In the evaluation, various parameters would be checked, such as assessing the quality of communication available in the individual set ups. A standard experimental design should be applied in all the stages of the evaluation, to help check whether there is an improvement in various associated parameters (Foronda, McWilliams, & McArthur, 2016).

For instance, the assessment of whether or not the number of medical errors per a given period reduced over time would be an efficient way to check whether there is an improvement in addressing the problem of communication errors.

A hypothesis test that could prove the findings would be, ‘the number of medical errors in unit X will reduce by 20% after a continuous application of the quality improvement initiative for a period of six months.’ A suitable statistical test that could help in proving the findings would be to set up a study where the patient conditions are investigated in a certain period before running the quality improvement initiative, and trying the same study after the quality improvement initiative have been tried. Here, the researcher would be open to a wide range of variables, but those that can be assessed primarily from patient data such as the use of the number of admissions are more preferred.

Conclusion

The quality improvement proposal of implementing patient education on improving patient communication during the daily rounds is efficient as it has already been proven to have many positive results in different set ups such as Duke Children’s Hospital. This initiative aims at debunking the myth that communication is a native trait, and appreciating the need of embracing various education about how to manage communication protocols in healthcare.

Communication errors are the leading causes of medical errors and has other indirect effects such as the increase in patient admission rates and reducing the quality of healthcare. Nurse educators need to appreciate the value of education about the right communication protocols among nurses and also among patients where possible.

There is need for healthcare givers to appreciate the fact that technical language should only be applied when they are conversing amongst themselves, but when talking to patients and their families, they should employ a high level of simplicity so as to ensure effectiveness of the message. Most importantly, healthcare givers should be open to embrace quality improvement initiatives that help in improving patient care outcomes.

References

Boling, A. (2020). Interprofessional Simulaton among Healthcare Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Communication Self-Efficacy. Retrieved from https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/73306/Boling_umkc_0134D_11535.pdf?sequence=1

Children’s Hospital Association, (2020). 4 Quality Improvement Ideas Hospitals Can Implement. Retrieved from https://www.childrenshospitals.org/improvement

Foronda, C., McWilliams, B., & McArthur, E. (2016). Interprofessional communication in healthcare: An integrative review. Nurse education in practice19, 36-40. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2016.04.005

Ghahramanian, A., Rezaei, T., Abdullahzadeh, F., Sheikhalipour, Z., & Dianat, I. (2017). Quality of healthcare services and its relationship with patient safety culture and nurse-physician professional communication. Health promotion perspectives7(3), 168. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.15171/hpp.2017.30

Hassan, I. (2018). Avoiding Medication Errors through Effective Communication in Healthcare Environment. Movement, Health & Exercise7(1), 113-126. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.15282/mohe.v6i2.157

Omura, M., Maguire, J., Levett-Jones, T., & Stone, T. E. (2017). The effectiveness of assertiveness communication training programs for healthcare professionals and students: A systematic review. International journal of nursing studies76, 120-128. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.09.001

Randmaa, M. (2016). Communication and Patient Safety: Transfer of information between healthcare personnel in anaesthetic clinics (Doctoral dissertation, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis). Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn%3Anbn%3Ase%3Auu%3Adiva-278726

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Quality Improvement in Healthcare: Enhancing Patient Care and Outcomes

Introduction:

In the rapidly evolving world of healthcare, providing quality patient care has become paramount. Quality improvement in healthcare plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal. It involves a systematic approach to analyzing current practices, identifying areas for enhancement, and implementing evidence-based strategies to optimize patient outcomes and experiences. In this article, we will explore various examples of quality improvement initiatives that have positively impacted the healthcare industry.

Understanding Quality Improvement in Healthcare:

Definition of Quality Improvement:

Quality improvement in healthcare refers to the continuous effort to analyze and enhance the processes, systems, and outcomes of patient care. It focuses on making incremental improvements to existing practices, with the ultimate aim of delivering safer, more efficient, and effective healthcare services.

Importance of Quality Improvement in Healthcare:

Quality improvement initiatives are vital as they help healthcare organizations to provide the best possible care to their patients. By embracing a culture of improvement, healthcare providers can identify areas of weakness, prevent medical errors, and optimize resource utilization, ultimately leading to better patient experiences and outcomes.

Examples of Quality Improvement in Healthcare:

Enhancing Patient Safety Protocols:

Patient safety is of utmost importance in healthcare settings. Quality improvement efforts in this area involve implementing safety protocols, such as checklists, hand hygiene campaigns, and fall prevention strategies, to reduce the incidence of medical errors and patient harm.

Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates:

High hospital readmission rates can burden both patients and healthcare systems. Quality improvement initiatives focus on post-discharge care, ensuring proper patient education, medication reconciliation, and follow-up appointments to minimize readmissions.

Implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR):

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have revolutionized healthcare documentation. By adopting EHR systems, healthcare providers can streamline data management, improve care coordination, and enhance patient safety through accurate and accessible medical records.

Improving Emergency Response Time:

In emergency medicine, every second counts. Quality improvement measures target reducing emergency response time by optimizing triage processes, improving communication, and ensuring well-equipped emergency departments.

Enhancing Medication Management:

Medication errors can have severe consequences for patients. Quality improvement initiatives focus on developing robust medication management systems, including computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode scanning, to minimize errors in drug administration.

Implementing Lean Six Sigma Practices:

Lean Six Sigma principles aim to eliminate waste and optimize processes. In healthcare, these practices have been utilized to streamline workflows, reduce waiting times, and enhance resource utilization.

Enhancing Staff Training and Education:

A well-trained and educated healthcare workforce is essential for delivering high-quality care. Quality improvement efforts include providing ongoing training, continuing education, and professional development opportunities to enhance staff competencies.

Patient Satisfaction Surveys and Feedback:

Patient feedback is invaluable for improving healthcare services. Quality improvement involves conducting patient satisfaction surveys and actively seeking feedback to identify areas of improvement and address patient concerns.

Applying Evidence-Based Practices:

Evidence-based practices ensure that healthcare interventions are grounded in scientific research and proven to be effective. Quality improvement efforts focus on adopting evidence-based guidelines and protocols to standardize care and improve patient outcomes.

Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infections:

Hospital-acquired infections can prolong hospital stays and increase healthcare costs. Quality improvement initiatives implement stringent infection prevention measures, such as hand hygiene protocols and environmental cleaning, to reduce the risk of infections.

Streamlining Hospital Discharge Processes:

A smooth hospital discharge process is essential for ensuring continuity of care. Quality improvement initiatives aim to streamline discharge planning, medication reconciliation, and post-discharge follow-up to prevent avoidable readmissions.

Challenges in Implementing Quality Improvement Initiatives:

Implementing quality improvement initiatives in healthcare is not without its challenges. Some common obstacles include:

Resistance to Change:

Healthcare professionals may be resistant to change, particularly if new practices disrupt established routines. Effective change management strategies are essential to gain buy-in and support from all stakeholders.

Resource Constraints:

Limited resources, both financial and human, can hinder the implementation of quality improvement projects. It is crucial to allocate resources strategically and prioritize initiatives based on their potential impact.

Data Management and Analysis:

Accurate data collection and analysis are vital for measuring the success of quality improvement initiatives. Healthcare organizations must invest in robust data management systems and analytical tools.

Communication and Coordination:

In large healthcare settings, effective communication and coordination among different departments and teams can be challenging. Quality improvement efforts should address communication gaps and foster collaboration.

The Benefits of Quality Improvement in Healthcare:

Improved Patient Outcomes:

Quality improvement initiatives lead to better patient outcomes, including reduced mortality rates, decreased complications, and improved overall health status.

Cost Reduction and Efficiency:

Efficient healthcare processes result in cost savings for both patients and healthcare organizations. By reducing waste and unnecessary procedures, quality improvement can enhance cost-effectiveness.

Enhanced Reputation and Trust:

Healthcare facilities that prioritize quality improvement gain a positive reputation and instill trust among patients and the community. This fosters patient loyalty and attracts more potential clients.

Compliance with Regulations:

Quality improvement efforts often align with regulatory requirements and accreditation standards. Meeting these standards ensures that healthcare providers deliver care that meets or exceeds the industry’s best practices.

Conclusion:

Quality improvement is an integral part of the healthcare landscape, driving positive changes that benefit both patients and healthcare organizations. By continually striving for excellence and embracing evidence-based practices, the healthcare industry can achieve better patient outcomes, reduced costs, and enhanced patient satisfaction.

FAQs:

  1. Q: How do quality improvement initiatives impact patient safety? A: Quality improvement initiatives, such as safety protocols and error reporting systems, help identify and prevent potential hazards, leading to improved patient safety.
  2. Q: What are the key challenges in implementing quality improvement in healthcare? A: Some challenges include resistance to change, resource constraints, data management, and communication issues.
  3. Q: Can quality improvement initiatives reduce hospital readmission rates? A: Yes, by focusing on post-discharge care and patient education, quality improvement efforts can help reduce hospital readmissions.
  4. Q: How do evidence-based practices contribute to quality improvement? A: Evidence-based practices ensure that healthcare interventions are based on scientific research, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  5. Q: What role does staff training play in quality improvement? A: Staff training enhances competencies, ensuring that healthcare professionals can deliver high-quality care and stay updated on the latest practices.

Quality Improvement Process Steps

The quality improvement process is a systematic approach that healthcare organizations use to identify areas for improvement, implement changes, and measure the impact of those changes. It involves a series of steps aimed at enhancing patient care, safety, and overall outcomes. Here are the key steps involved in the quality improvement process:

  1. Identify the Focus Area: The first step is to identify the specific aspect of healthcare that requires improvement. This could be related to patient safety, efficiency of processes, patient satisfaction, or any other area that needs attention.
  2. Set Goals and Objectives: Once the focus area is identified, clear and measurable goals and objectives should be established. These goals serve as benchmarks to gauge the success of the improvement initiative.
  3. Collect Data: Accurate data collection is crucial in the quality improvement process. Data provides insights into the current performance and helps in identifying areas for improvement. Both quantitative and qualitative data may be collected.
  4. Analyzing the Data: After data collection, it is analyzed to understand the root causes of the issues and to identify patterns or trends that need attention. This analysis guides the development of improvement strategies.
  5. Develop Improvement Strategies: Based on the data analysis, improvement strategies are developed. These strategies may include changes to processes, protocols, training, or any other intervention deemed necessary.
  6. Implement Changes: The identified improvement strategies are put into action. It is essential to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are informed and trained to implement the changes effectively.
  7. Monitor and Measure: Throughout the implementation, continuous monitoring and measurement are essential. This allows the team to track progress, identify any unexpected outcomes, and make necessary adjustments.
  8. Assess the Results: After implementing the changes, the results are assessed to determine the impact of the improvement strategies. This evaluation is compared against the established goals and objectives.
  9. Sustain Improvement: If the results are favorable and meet the set goals, the changes are integrated into regular practices to sustain improvement. If needed, further adjustments are made to enhance outcomes continually.
  10. Spread Best Practices: Successful improvement initiatives can be shared with other departments or facilities within the organization to spread best practices and drive organization-wide improvement.
  11. Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of the improvement team and other stakeholders involved. This acknowledgment encourages a culture of continuous improvement.
  12. Seek Feedback: Feedback from both staff and patients is valuable in improving the quality improvement process itself. Encouraging feedback fosters engagement and innovation.

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