What's Quality Improvement All About?

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You’ve probably heard people at work talking about “quality improvement”. You may have been asked to participate in a QI study or attend a QI committee meeting. But what’s all this fuss about quality—especially when everyone’s already working so hard?

Health organizations focus on quality in order to raise the level of client care—no matter how good it may already be. The idea of a quality improvement program is to:

  • Identify problems a workplace may have in meeting the needs of its clients and its employees.
  • Provide an organized approach to solving those problems.
  • Help improve the quality of life for every client and the working conditions for every employee.

A quality improvement program helps health care organizations measure how well they meet the needs of both clients and employees. QI cuts across all departments and requires participation from every staff member… from housekeeping staff to clerical employees to client care staff.

Quality improvement may seem like it’s just one more thing to do...but it’s something that should be a way of life for every health care worker. Remember, the quality of client care can be a life or death matter. Because of this, everyone who works in health care has an ethical obligation to provide good quality care.

Is it really necessary to try to improve client care if it’s already good?
Well, consider this...if 99.9% quality is good enough for Americans, then:

  • Tap water will be unsafe to drink for one hour each month.
  • In one year, 55 ATM’s will already be broken on the day they are installed.
  • Over 1300 phone calls will get cut off every minute.
  • There will be over 100 incorrect medical procedures performed every day.
  • Over 300 words in the dictionary will be misspelled.
  • In one year, every American’s heart will miss 32,000 beats.
  • Americans will buy over 14,000 defective computers every year.
  • 50 babies will be dropped at birth every day.
  • Across America, there will be no telephone, electricity or television for 15 minutes every day.

So, when you are sure your work is good enough...improve it!

What's In It for You?
Employees who work to continuously improve client care enjoy personal benefits as well:

  • Awareness—from paying close attention to their clients’ needs.
  • Pride in their work—from the satisfaction of a job well done.
  • Respect and cooperation—from working closely with other employees.
  • Job satisfaction—from sharing their ideas on how to improve client care.
  • Better problem-solving skills—from working with others to eliminate problems.
  • Job security—from increasing their own professionalism and the reputation of their workplace.
  • A smoother work day—since their clients have a high level of satisfaction.

For more information about quality improvement, check out our complete inservice, Understanding Quality Improvement.

Happy Learning!



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