Building the Ideal Quality & Safety Department, Part III

Is a Clinical or Nonclinical Background Better?

Clinical or Nonclinical Quality Specialists

Does the Quality Specialist (QS) need a clinical background? Not necessarily.

Many successful QSs have come from diverse backgrounds, including coding, psychology, industrial engineering, finance, and manufacturing.

Building The Ideal Quality & Safety Department, Part II

The Soft Skills are the Critical Ingredient for a Quality Specialist

My series on “Building The Ideal Quality & Safety Department” continues with this post.

I’ll post information every Monday until we’ve designed an entire department. When the series is complete, we’ll have a monograph, a step-by-step model for designing your dream department – one that gets results AND one where every FTE can be justified by a solid business case. I’ll publish it as an eBook so you’ll have all of this information in one publication. So let’s take a look at the soft skills for your Quality Specialist.

How to Become a Top 100 Hospital

It Can Be Done

When I started my first quality program, my teams and I only focused on one thing—improving care for our patients—and rightly so. Today, that is still my number one goal for every program I help build.

Along the way, we started earning quality awards, which I can honestly say wasn’t a top priority. But as more awards came into the organization, I started to see some interesting effects. Our employees were showing more pride in working for our organization. Improvements occurred with increasing frequency and physicians and nurses were asking to start new improvement teams. They had never done that before.

How You Can Create Your Own Total Knee Replacement Dashboard

It's Easier Than You Think

Creating a clinical dashboard is easier than you think – and with this template and tips you’ll be on your way to having a dashboard in no time.

Quick Tips to Get You Started

First, you need the design for the Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Dashboard. Download it here in excel format.

Second, you need to remember three “truths” about quality data.

Mandatory Bundled Payment Set for Total Joint Replacements

Bundled Payment Set for 67 Geographic Areas

The Associated Press reported recently that Medicare launched mandatory bundled payment for hip and knee replacements effective April 1. 67 metropolitan areas are on the list and more will likely follow, so preparing for bundled payment ASAP is the smart play.

What’s Your First Move?

The Quality Playbook is Here!

A Step-by-Step Guide for Building Quality & Safety Programs

Wow! Today is a big day for me, and I want to share it with you. The Quality Playbook has been released!

TQPB Set

What Makes This Book So Different?

Unlike many authors, I’m not an armchair sort of guy – I’ve been on the front lines just like you.

I’ve taken everything I know about making quality & safety programs work and created a Playbook for nailing it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a hospital, medical group, or even the system office – the tools, tactics, and plays in The Quality Playbook can be used everywhere.

If I Can Do It, You Can Too!

Here’s what no one else is telling you about implementing a quality program like the one I’m describing…

How to Avoid the 1,001 QI Project Trap

Strategically Focus Your Quality Improvement Priorities for Maximum Impact

Quality improvement programs often fail simply because they are poorly focused. Many QI programs try to do too much; they try to work on too many small, low-impact, department-level QI projects.

Avoid The 1,001 Quality Improvement Project Trap

The 1,001 QI project trap happens when your organization charters improvement QI projects using a bottom-up approach—essentially allowing departments to charter any QI project they feel is important.

This approach results in hundreds of small, low-impact projects. They bring little improvement value to the organization, take up a lot of energy, and stretch quality department resources past their limits.

Quality leaders feel like they’re doing everything they can to improve quality, but are overwhelmed by so many QI projects, and see little improvement for all of their effort.

You might think it would be just the opposite, but time and time again, we’ve run the numbers—and when there are too many QI projects to support, they fail to achieve results.

So, your first step is to keep the number of QI projects manageable, while at the same time you need to achieve your goal to improve care for as many patients as possible. I know this sounds like a no-win situation, but there is a way to manage a reasonable number of projects while improving care for the majority of your patients.

Here are two ways to focus your improvement efforts that get HUGE RESULTS.

How To Stop Medication Errors

How to Design a Medication Safety Dashboard

Medication errors continue to be the most common errors in medicine. And this is after decades of work trying to fix this problem. We’ve used bar coding, double checks, triple checks, and no interruption zones, just to name a few. And they all help. But the problem of medical errors still continues.

I taught a one day workshop on Implementing Quality Programs for the Fall Institute of the American Association of Physician Leaders, formerly the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) this past weekend.

We spent part of the day reviewing the major components in an Annual Quality & Safety Plan. We put the redesign of the medication administration process as a priority both within the Safety section and the Process Improvement section.

We did this because of the frequency of medication errors that persists in our hospitals – on average a hospitalized patient encounters one or more medication errors per day.

We also reviewed a template for a Medication Safety Dashboard. You know my favorite line by now: The only way to manage quality is to measure and report on quality. So here is a template for doing just that. It can be used throughout any organization, from the front line to the board room, to report and manage medication related errors. It’s also a great tool for physician engagement.

I’ve used some version of this Medication Safety Dashboard in many organizations. Click here to download an excel file and of course, feel free to customize as needed.

I would love to here from you. Do you have a medication safety dashboard you would like to share? If you do, just send me an email and I’ll set up a special page for sharing.

How a Medication Error Killed My Grandpa

Would "No Interruption Zones" Prevent Such a Tragic Outcome?

My Grandpa was one of my heroes. He had survived WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII, and yet, he still wore a smile on his face everyday. And he loved his grandkids, and his great grandkids.

I was taking the second part of the boards one day when the dean came into the auditorium and pulled me outside.

She said, “your grandpa has been in an accident. He’s over at St. Mary’s. Go to him and we’ll worry about this test later.”

I had just finished a cardiology rotation at this hospital and one of my professors was Grandpa’s cardiologist. This gave me a sense of hope that Grandpa would be OK.

My professor said, “your Grandpa has a pneumothorax (a collapsed lung); they put in a chest tube to reinflate it; his heart failure is stable; we fully expect that he will make a full recovery.”

I was so grateful my Grandpa had a good prognosis.

The next several days went off without a hitch, but then … three days later my professor called me aside, and he had a grave look on his face.