Healthcare organizations across the world find themselves experiencing a great amount of pressure each day.
While every setting will employ talented, hardworking, and passionate clinicians, nurses, and support staff, a facility could struggle with inadequate technologies, processes, or equipment that can affect patient outcomes.
Hospitals and medical practices must look for ways to refine their services so that they can improve the patient experience. Continue reading to learn how healthcare organizations can raise their standards.
Establish Goals to Strengthen Weaknesses
There is always room for improvement in healthcare. To set the standard in the sector, a facility must identify its various weaknesses. Then, they must create realistic, measurable goals for employees to meet. For instance, a hospital might need to improve onsite safety, time management, or productivity.
Research Other Healthcare Organizations
There are various websites available that allow the public to review hospital data and trends. If a facility is struggling in an area, they could review the information to learn how they can replicate another healthcare organization’s success. Many hospitals and practices are also often willing to share their advice and improvement programs to help other organizations improve their standards and patient outcomes.
Implement Quality Improvement Initiatives
Every healthcare organization should hire employees from various backgrounds, who will offer diverse skills and experience. It will ensure patients have access to a vast amount of knowledge and skills, which can help a facility to provide unrivaled care and shorter recovery times. The right senior leader can also provide valuable advice and support to junior staff while overseeing standards and processes.
However, while a team will comprise of dedicated, knowledgeable individuals, one person’s efforts cannot lead to sustainable quality improvements.
For this reason, a hospital or medical practice must create and implement quality improvement initiatives, which should be supported by senior leaders and backed up with a learning culture across the organization.
Introduce a Document Management System
Every medical setting must maintain up to date records of procedures, policies, contracts, incidents, and safety data sheets (SDS). To keep the information safe and secure, a healthcare organization should introduce a centralized document management system. A cloud-based solution is a worthwhile consideration, as it will ensure a healthcare provider can access a file at any time when they need it.
Invest in Telemedicine
Many medical organizations are starting to realize the many benefits of telemedicine, which can transform the patient experience and standards. The technology can decrease gaps between appointments, which can prevent fragmented care while overcoming geographical barriers.
By introducing the technology into a facility, an organization could experience:
- Fewer hospital admissions and readmissions
- Shorter hospital stays
- Greater patient engagement
Telemedicine cannot only improve patient care and outcomes, but it could reduce inpatient costs. The money saved can then be used to improve overall standards.
Focus on Data-Driven Insights
Healthcare organizations have access to a large amount of data that could provide valuable insights into their services, weaknesses, medical issues, and patient experience. Data-driven insights can help a medical facility to identify the systems that are or aren’t working. Plus, management could track internal changes and compare and monitor various processes.
By regularly reviewing data, organizations can quickly change poor processes and systems, which could lead to better patient outcomes, lower infection rates, a decrease in medical mistakes, and fewer readmissions.
Encourage Employee Development
Any hospital that wants to build a motivated, engaged, and passionate team should focus on employee development.
By encouraging various staff members to pursue promotions in a department, gain additional degrees, and improve their weaknesses, healthcare professionals could advance their skills and knowledge.
A healthcare organization’s faith in their ability could also increase a talented practitioner’s loyalty to the facility.
For instance, registered nurses can build on their skills and become a healthcare leader by enrolling on an online family nurse practitioner program. By gaining the degree, a family nurse practitioner will be able to deliver advanced nursing care to individuals and families, while promoting health and decreasing any risk of disease.
By employing talented, skilled, and ambitious employees, a healthcare organization could set a new standard in the sector and develop a positive reputation.
Slash Infection Rates
Hospital-acquired infections can cause many problems for healthcare providers. They cannot only cause further health issues for patients, but it could increase stays and open a facility up to malpractice claims. It is, therefore, important to review processes to decrease infections across a facility.
For example, an organization could make it their mission to decrease catheter-associated UTIs by setting up a new system of documentation. Regularly checking catheter use across all departments could slash infection rates, which could enhance care, decrease stays, and improve patient satisfaction.
Care for Employees’ Health
While patient care is rightly at the heart of every healthcare organization, it is also vital for facilities to focus on their employees’ health and wellbeing. Due to the immense pressure and stress placed on healthcare workers each day, it makes perfect sense that they might struggle with mental health issues, could become disengaged with patients, or experience burnout at some stage.
Rather than allowing the problems to persist, which could cause standards to slip, a healthcare setting must provide their valuable team with help and support when necessary. For example, many physicians, nurses, and support staff will excel in their roles with support from their colleagues and managers. Plus, good teamwork can make challenges seem easier and can take the pressure off one person’s shoulders.
It might be beneficial to provide employees with a forum to share their thoughts and emotions, which could help them to cope with the many emotional challenges they face daily. The form of talk therapy could also help them to remember why they chose to enter healthcare. This could improve their resilience and help them to feel more engaged with patient care. By taking the time to care for employees’ health, a healthcare organization will not only survive but thrive.
Set New Clinical Guidelines
Medical mistakes, unpleasant environments, and disengaged staff could cause a hospital or medical practice to develop a poor reputation in the sector. Rather than accepting the label placed on an organization, they must take steps to address issues and transform patient care.
For example, if processes aren’t working and procedures are not adhered to, it might be time to introduce fresh clinical guidelines and policies. It could improve internal communication, increase safety, and provide greater transparency.
Replacing leaders and establishing best practices could also transform the culture and, in turn, patient outcomes. For instance, it could lead to smaller readmissions, lower rates of infections, and deep vein thrombosis, reduced health complications, and, most importantly, a decrease in patient mortality rates.
Improved Patient Education
The most experienced clinicians and nurses can make a mistake in their careers, but they are not solely responsible for a hospital’s standards. While patients once had a passive role in their road to recovery, many modern organizations now understand that patient education could reduce medical errors.
Healthcare practitioners must take the time to provide patients with various facts related to their specific condition, which can help them to ask the right questions and even identify possible problems that could arise. It could provide patients with safer treatments and could prevent complications and readmissions.
A Safe, Modern Hospital Design
Many traditional hospitals were designed to support operational efficiency over staff and patient safety. However, many modern facilities now offer patient-centered designs, which aim to provide better air quality, noise reduction, and proximity to critical information. What’s more, they will include fixtures to lower contagion spread in every treatment area, such as staff hand sinks, and wiring to support the most advanced healthcare technologies.
While hardworking, knowledgeable employees can reduce errors, the hospital environment can determine the health and safety of every patient. It is, therefore, important for traditional hospitals to tweak or overhaul a design to deliver a higher standard of care each day.
Increase Organizational Safety Knowledge
Every leader and employee must have a firm understanding of their organizational safety roles. While hospital safety training is essential for every new staff member who joins the team, a hospital administrator must also keep each employee updated on various policy changes related to their role.
In addition to understanding their duties, they must also know how every team member can uphold patient safety across a facility, which should be supported by clear safety procedures and policies. Each employee should also have a forum to voice any issues or concerns, which will ensure standards never slip and patients receive the best possible care.
Incorporate Smart Technology
Smart technology is helping many healthcare settings to improve both patient care and comfort. The innovative devices and equipment are helping to take some of the intense pressure off healthcare practitioners and support staff. Plus, they can provide patients with peace of mind during a hospital stay.
For example, many forward-thinking hospitals have introduced smart beds, which can self-adjust to provide patients with the correct support and pressure for their condition and preferences. Robots are also becoming commonplace in many facilities, as they can monitor one or more patients without a practitioner in the room.
Research Every Technology
It is imperative that an organization thoroughly researches a technology before they invest in a device or system. If they adopt it too early, they might purchase an inferior first version that has zero or little upgrades, or a facility might not have the infrastructure to support the advanced tool. However, if they wait too long, they could lose their competitive advantage.
The technology’s longevity must also be a factor when investing in modern devices and tools. For instance, the development of the polio vaccine eliminated every need for the technologies, drugs, and services that were used to treat the life-threatening disease.
A thorough understanding of technology weighed against the needs of a community will help organizations to introduce the best tools for a department at the right time. Plus, it could prevent a hospital or practice from wasting money on unhelpful devices, which they could use to fund better beds, systems, or personnel.
Reduce Reliance on Memory
Relying on employees’ memories can cause medical mistakes, health complications, and readmissions. To improve healthcare, introduce a drug interaction checking software, which can identify how medications will react with each other to avoid a possible issue. Laminated cards could also be stored at nursing stations or carried in a practitioner’s pocket, which will include the following information:
- Standard order times
- Antibiotic dosages
- Common chemotherapy protocols
- Formulas for pediatric dosages
The software and cards could improve standards across a facility and will provide staff members with greater confidence in their roles.
Create Employee Health and Safety Policies
Healthcare practitioners and support staff will be a healthcare organization’s biggest asset. As medical professionals will face greater health risks in comparison to roles in many other industries, a healthcare facility must take the necessary steps to improve their health and safety each day.
Depending on the setting, an organization might need to introduce a policy that will cover:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Substance exposure (e.g., infectious agents, drugs, chemicals, and other hazards)
- Onsite dangers (such as slip and trip hazards)
Employee policies cannot only guide staff on how to protect their health in the workplace, but it could also improve their awareness of various hazards in their role.
There are multiple ways healthcare organizations of every size can raise their standards, such as improving facility designs, introducing new technologies, setting new guidelines, and focusing on data-driven insights. By doing so, they could reduce medical errors, improve weaknesses, and enhance teamwork, which can lead to shorter stays, fewer readmissions, and lower infection rates.
The patient should be at the heart of every hospital or medical practice. Yet, hospitals must not overlook supporting their employees’ health and wellbeing, and they must provide professional encouragement to help them reach their potential and build on their skillset. As a result, it can lead to a more dedicated, thorough, and caring team, which will transform patient care, safety, and outcomes.