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.

Building The Ideal Quality & Safety Department

Technical Expertise Required for Your Quality Specialist

I have received many questions lately about how to staff a quality and safety department. The most common questions are:

  1. How many staff do I need? Are there any benchmarks for effective staffing levels?
  2. What type of skills do they need?
  3. Do they need a clinical background? If not, what other type of education is ideal?
  4. My organization never approves my FTE requests and we can barely keep up. What can I do?

How Much Should We Measure in Hospital Quality?

Why some of the leading pundits have it all wrong

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

Ischemic Stroke DB Pt 1

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.

3 Reasons You Should Pay Attention to Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score

40% of Hospitals Receive a C, D, or F Rating According to Leapfrog

The controversy about healthcare’s rating agencies continues. Whether it’s that we don’t like their choice of measures, or how the data is risk adjusted, the most recent complaints are that there are too many of them and they all measure different things.

Regardless, rating agencies aren’t going away. Their measures and methods are becoming more sophisticated, and patient interest in hospital quality information continue to increase. And frankly, many quality leaders find their information useful and informative – some such as myself will use this information to help develop our quality and safety priorities for the near term. One such source is Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score.

Why You Should Follow Your Hospital Safety Score

First, Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score is targeted at consumers and is intended to help them “select a hospital that is prepared to protect them from harm and error.” This is reason enough to follow your score. It seems that anything less than an A, and possibly a B would be embarrassing. It’s also hard to explain when asked why your organization has a C, D, or F by the media, your board, your community leaders, your employers, and your health plan partners.

How The Board Quality Committee Drives Quality

Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote in hfm, the journal of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. It has some great tips to help the effectiveness of your Board Quality Committee.

Board Quality Committee

“In today’s healthcare environment, every hospital or health system board committee should play a role in enhancing value. Given the direct relationship between better quality and lower costs, the board quality committee can provide strategic oversight for quality improvements that also boost the bottom line.

Here are five proven approaches to putting the board quality committee in a position to improve not only quality performance, but also financial outcomes.”

More …

Click here for a copy of the entire article.

My #1 Secret for Building Effective Quality and Safety Programs

Everyone wants to know the secret to building great quality programs.  I know I did, and I’ve been leading quality and safety programs for more than 20 years.

Over this time, I have tried a lot of things that worked and more that didn’t.  I’ve worked with great teams, and their collective wisdom added to our list of things to try.

But 14 years ago, the answer to all of my implementation problems walked into my office.  She walked in, extended her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Lori.  I’m from finance and I’m here to help.”  That got my attention.  Finance is here to HELP?  But once I got over my initial trepidation, we got to work.

The next day we were brainstorming about how to roll out our new quality reports to over 70 hospitals .

At some point, she immediately stood up.  She stopped and said, “I’ve got it.”  “What do you mean, you got it,” I asked.  She replied, “I know how to solve all of our implementation headaches.”  And did she ever.