What is Quality Management? According to Cherry and Jacob in the Book Contemporary Nursing: Issues Trends and Management 5th Edition, “Quality Management is the philosophic framework for managing organizations that recognize quality is determined by customer needs and expectations, attention is paid to how the work is done, with an emphasis on involving people who best understand the detail of the work practices with which they are involved. Healthcare Quality Management is specifically related to the quality of health services provided.” What does this mean for us as nurses in a time where Quality Management and Evidenced Based Nursing Practice is so deeply emphasized. What brought us to this current trend as a profession of health care? Is quality truly evident in the Health Care Profession today? Who are the regulatory agencies involved in Quality Healthcare Management? What role do regulatory agencies try to ensure this quality management revolution? What role does process improvement play in improving quality and ensuring patient safety? How can we as nurses ensure quality care and management for our clients? These are all questions that we hope to provide further insight on.
What is quality healthcare? The Institute of Medicine defines healthcare quality as the extent to which health services provided to individuals and patient populations improves the desired health outcomes. The care should be based on the strongest clinical evidence as we know it, Evidence Based Practice. This care should be provided in a technologically and culturally competent manner with strong communication skills and shared decision making. This puts the burden of quality on the profession as a whole not on just a few individuals. The sum of quality is by definition, an attitude or orientation that permeates an organization and the ways in which the organization performs its internal and external business. Organizations dedicated to quality are no better than the sum of their parts. Without individual perseverance for excellence and a continued dedication to quality improvement on a person by person basis, the idea of quality falls to the wayside (Pelletier and Beaudin, PhD. National Association for Healthcare Quality, 2008, p.3)
What events have led to the current trend calling for quality healthcare? In 2000 a report by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine called, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. This report noted that nearly 98,000 deaths occurred as a direct result of medical errors. Some of the contributing factors to poor quality of care included: Overuse of expensive invasive technology, Underuse of inexpensive care services, and Error prone implementation of care that could harm patients and waste money. (Cherry and Jacob, 2008, pg. 445)
The report provoked a quality chasm report by the Institute of medicine called, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health system for the 21st Century. The results of this were quite...