As the healthcare industry continues to shift to value-based care models, how does an organization begin or continue to move towards this ever-changing climate and focus on delivering quality healthcare that is safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable? This is precisely the reason why an organization might decide to develop a Quality & Patient Safety (QPS) Program. Once an organization has recognized the need for establishing a QPS Program, then it should be full steam ahead, with the goal of improving health outcomes while fostering smarter spending.
Establishing a QPS Program without full commitment from the organization’s leadership, however, will result in a program that is unsuccessful and ineffective. To start, the organization should create a plan for the QPS Program, clearly identifying its Purpose, Mission, and Vision. In addition, the plan should include the Guiding Principles and Scope of the QPS Program. Creating this plan will produce the framework and baseline by which to implement quality performance improvement and safety activities. Moreover, the QPS plan might provide an opportunity to describe the organization’s priorities.
Once the plan is in place, the next step should be evaluating quality and safety programs the organization currently has in place. A full inventory of programs such as MACRA MIPS, MU Medicaid, ACO, and any quality and safety initiatives with payers that the organization is currently engaged in. This inventory might drive organizational change and align overall with other initiatives underway in the organization. Not only is it significant to evaluate the current quality and safety initiatives, but it is also important to identify the methods in which the programs’ requirements are being reported. Work with other departments within the organization such as IT, Operations, and Finance to develop the basic reporting infrastructure which support the Quality and Safety efforts.
Finally, when establishing a Quality and Patient Safety Program, the organization should focus on accountability and its execution. In doing so the organization will need to look at it’s approach in launching the program. This might include creating a QPS Sub-Committee with membership based on bylaws. Also, look at the resources required to support the QPS Program. All meetings should be held in a peer review protected manner and should consistently have the same agenda items. To ensure the organization shares the same mental model for quality and patient safety, ongoing training including new employee orientation is important. Communication and education regarding quality improvement and patient safety philosophy, strategies, and tools should occur in multiple venues throughout the organization, in order that such matters become an important fiber of the institution.