Hospitals are on a never-ending journey of quality improvement—employing new technologies and techniques and research on what works, as well as continuously training new workers and meeting the needs of sicker patients. While hospitals are at different points on their quality path, all hospitals are committed to quality improvement.
This commitment has helped hospitals make great strides in increasing adherence to treatment protocols and improving patient outcomes. Hospitals employ different approaches and models of quality improvement, such as Lean, Six Sigma and the Plan-Do-Study-Act model for improvement. Generally quality improvement efforts involve five steps:
- Identify target areas for improvement;
- Determine what processes can be modified to improve outcomes;
- Develop and execute effective strategies to improve quality;
- Track performance and outcomes; and
- Disseminate results to spur broad quality improvement.