10 Good Ideas for Great Quality Improvement Studies
The following article is written by Daren Smith, RN, director of clinical services, for Surgical Management Professionals.
Are you in charge of coming up with meaningful quality improvement studies for your facility? Has the idea well run dry? QI studies can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. Sometimes it just takes a spark to start the fire and positively impact quality of care or efficiency of your center.
Here are 10 good ideas topics your organization can turn into great, valuable QI studies. Remember, a good study becomes a great study by establishing clear goals, identifying measurable topics and producing a clean finished product full of visual data, which are components your accrediting body will likely look for when assessing your QI performance.
1. Employee satisfaction survey. Happy employees can correlate to happy patients and, in turn, happy investors. Query your staff on their satisfaction with the many aspects of their job. There are even reasonably priced vendors that manage the entire process for you. Your goal could be to increase the level of overall satisfaction of your staff or identify a couple of areas of concern and set a goal to improve in those areas.
2. Case costing. Identify a high-volume or high-cost procedure and perform a detailed case costing analysis. The goal of the study could be to reduce the supply cost of that particular case by certain percentage.
3. Instrument loss. Analyze your instrument replacement trends. A possible goal of the study would be to reduce instrument loss by a certain percentage.
4. Physician satisfaction survey. Measure the level of satisfaction with the many aspects of service you provide at your center. Once again, there are reasonably priced vendors that manage the entire process for you. The goal could be to identify areas of concern and increase the satisfaction level in those areas through process improvement.
5. Going green. Select an area of your center (business office, break room, housekeeping, etc.) and examine the environmental impact of the products used in the area. Craft a goal that reduces waste or coverts a percentage of products to environmentally friendly products.
6. Inventory practices. Investigate your inventory processes (ordering, receiving, physical count, etc.). You can do a time study or a cost study and make a goal to improve either or both.
7. Registration time. Explore your registration process. Create a goal to reduce the time a patient spends in registration.
8. Instrument repairs. Examine your instrument repair expenses. Create a goal reduce the expense by a certain percentage or dollar amount through process improvement or contract renegotiation.
9. Formulary reduction. Do you have medications in your formulary that are taking up valuable shelf space? Are they rarely used or are you stocking several medications that serve the same purpose? Conduct the investigation and set a goal to reduce your inventory.
10. Freight cost. Complete a freight cost analysis on your supply chain. The goal could be a simple as reduction of freight costs to the center.
Daren Smith RN is the director of clinical services for Surgical Management Professionals, an organization of physicians and healthcare executives who have created a successful model for ambulatory surgical centers and physician owned surgical hospitals that embrace the concept of physician ownership and clinical leadership.
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