Continuous Improvement in Healthcare: Why it Matters and How to do it

Continuous Improvement in Healthcare: Why it Matters and How to do it
Marketing Specialist

Anything that’s worth doing is worth improving, especially in healthcare. From managing new talent to screening employees to refining daily processes, these are all key components to saving time, resources, and most importantly, patients’ lives. 

In general, people who are passionate about continuous improvement often ask two important questions: “What are we doing?” and “How can we do it better?” By asking these kinds of questions, organizational leaders can begin to measure what is working and what needs improvement.

Whether you’re looking to develop a continuous improvement program or review what you already have, here are three key measures healthcare organizations should consider to produce positive outcomes.

Continuously Provide Feedback and Learning Opportunities

Encouraging a culture of learning is not only critical to developing effective teams, but it also goes a long way in easing the feedback process. In healthcare, mistakes can have high costs, so it’s important to address problematic behaviors before they escalate and become an issue. In a recent PreCheck article, Angus Woodward, an Associate Professor at Franciscan University, a healthcare-oriented school, suggests getting your staff involved in collaborating on a rubric for evaluation. It enables students to self and peer-reflect on their learning, making informed changes to achieve the desired learning level. “Imagine how much more engaged your staff will be if they set the standards themselves,” Woodward says. “The work becomes a point of pride, and they want to improve.”

Continuously Run (Post-Hire) Background Checks

A healthcare organization and the care it provides is only as good as its employees. Not only does that mean ensuring they’re qualified to practice, but that also means they’re cleared of any criminal convictions that may affect staff or patient safety. In our latest white paper, “Continuous Background Screening: An Effective Workplace Safety Tool for Healthcare Employers,” we highlight a real-life crisis faced by a large healthcare system. The prominent healthcare system found itself in hot water when law enforcement agents descended upon one of their hospitals and arrested an employee. The crisis led to weeks of public scrutiny, reputable damage and hard questions about their inadequate security practices. In the end, the healthcare organization adopted recurring background checks as part of its due diligence process to avoid another publicized adverse incident.

Continuously Refine Processes

There will always be new ways to do old things and easier ways to accomplish complex tasks. For HR professionals, the list is long and tedious, regardless of industry. Onboarding, for example, is an area that requires consistent evaluation to identify any potential areas for improvement. Why? According to data from the consulting firm BCG, onboarding ranks second (after recruiting) with the second highest business impact of all the 22 HR practices. In fact, organizations that provide a positive experience rating on their onboarding process can expect nearly double their corporate revenue growth and profit margins, compared to those with average experience ratings, says Dr. John Sullivan, an internationally known HR thought leader. Onboarding serves as the basis of your organization’s relationship with employees; thus, it’s important that you make them feel welcomed and part of the team from day one. Maya Angelou once said, “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” 

Is continuous improvement part of your healthcare organization’s strategy to promote a safe and productive workplace? Please share in the comments below.