What are some strategies using quality metrics for continuous quality improvement?
In order to continue the quality improvement process, any initiative you propose should be open-ended, so that there is a logical next step to take once the first round of targets have been met. Introduce any QI project as a small part of an overall effort to improve patient safety, quality of care, or efficiency, encouraging providers to remain engaged in the process. Tying provider compensation or other incentives to a single target number may send the message that meeting that standard is “good enough”, rather than the first step of an ongoing QI process. In general, a QI project can be approached similarly to a health information technology implementation – the most important factor is provider buy-in, and that buy-in is most easily achieved by close collaboration with clinicians throughout the QI process.
Many different possible approaches exist to quality improvement, even to the same clinical objective. In the case of improving care for a chronic condition (the clinical objective), an organization may choose to focus on patient outcomes, standard course of treatment, cost, efficiency, or some other aspect of care. This choice will then inform the organization’s choice of a quality metric.
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