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.
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.
I have received many questions lately about how to staff a quality and safety department. The most common questions are:
- How many staff do I need? Are there any benchmarks for effective staffing levels?
- What type of skills do they need?
- Do they need a clinical background? If not, what other type of education is ideal?
- My organization never approves my FTE requests and we can barely keep up. What can I do?
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.
OMW! Here we go again. Yesterday in an editorial on psqh.com, Don Berwick is quoted as stating at the IHI National Forum in December 2015, that we should “cut in half all metrics currently being used and then cut them in half again.”
I wholeheartedly disagree. And here is why.
Clinical Dashboard – Hemorrhagic Stroke
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.
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?
Wow! Today is a big day for me, and I want to share it with you. The Quality Playbook has been released!
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…
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.
We have a healthcare crisis of epic proportions – a patient safety crisis. It only came to light in the 1990’s, but its likely existed in all of our healthcare organizations for our entire careers. But so far, we have only made a dent in the problem. Our patients know this and they are afraid, their families are afraid, and when we’re honest with ourselves, many of us worry about being hospitalized in our own organizations.
Here are the sobering statistics:
- 210,000 to 440,000 people lose their lives each year to medical errors in hospitals, according to research conducted by J. James and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.
- Medical errors may now rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States; only cardiovascular disease and cancer takes more lives each year.
- Preventable Adverse Events (PAEs) account for “roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the U.S. each year.
- More than 1,000 people die every day from preventable accidents in hospitals.
- Preventable medical errors, in the form of “oops”, errors of omission, complications, readmissions, and avoidable mortality cost the US economy untold billions each year.
- The average hospitalized patient experiences 1.5 medication errors daily and medication errors are the most common form of error.
- There are more than 6 million patient injuries per year due to errors.
- 40 percent of hospitals received a C, D, or F on Leapfrog’s Safety Score.
- According to the Leapfrog Group, “since Fall 2014, (hospital) performance on safety outcomes – including preventing errors, accidents, and infections – has not significantly improved.”