Even more so today, healthcare is one of the most important sectors we have. The healthcare sector interfaces directly with the lives of millions of people. That means any mistake or laxity can lead to damaging consequences. That’s why quality control in the medical industry is more critical than in any other sector. Quality assurance programs ensure patient and healthcare worker safety.
Quality control means ensuring that the stipulated standards are followed to the latter. The only way this can be achieved is through committed and trustworthy healthcare providers. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can ensure that quality services are provided by coming up with stringent measures in their respective areas.
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It doesn’t matter how qualified or smart a healthcare provider is. Without proper measures in place, they are bound to make errors. The only solution is to develop rules and regulations to ensure adherence to the set standards.
Administrators should be able to assess different areas of their organizations and identify those where quality control measures can be more effective. Every healthcare facility or hospital indeed has its own distinct challenges. However, there are certain leadership principles and operational procedures that cut across the industry.
1. Develop a Quality Control Process
As mentioned earlier, the healthcare industry is susceptible. It deals with the lives of many people, and any small mistake can lead to regrettable consequences. Having said that, it is also important to consider the use of personal intuitions and common sense while treating or attending to patients. No healthcare worker should feel compelled to adhere to stringent rules that may compromise the life of patients.
Workers in the healthcare profession should have the liberty to establish processes that they deem life-saving to patients. Quality assurance is meant to protect both caregivers and patients. That’s why employees should not perceive some rules and regulations as punitive but rather view them positively.
For instance, nurses might be required to ensure that all hospital wards’ equipment is thoroughly cleaned. Sometimes test results might require to be cross-checked by doctors or senior technicians. In other words, you don’t have to rely on the set standards – you can go beyond certain regulations to provide the best services.
2. Conduct Spot Check-Equipment Testing
Incorrect use of equipment can have adverse effects on the patients. Even medical practitioners with years of experience can still mishandle certain medical equipment. Some may have developed unsafe habits that can harm patients.
Holding unplanned equipment testing sessions can, therefore, help in ensuring there is compliance. Workers often do their level best to understand how to use various equipment, knowing that they can be caught off-guard at any time.
An organization can perform tests on a limited number of employees and monitor how every employee is handling the equipment. This is also the time to note any deviation from the accepted standards of handling equipment.
Allow the employees to air their views about the use of different equipment. They should also air out common errors and help them with ways of correcting those particular errors.
If the facility cannot run tests on equipment handling, they can be asked to describe their experience in handling various equipment in the course of their duty.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
3. Maintain a Clean Working Environment
Besides various procedures on sterilization of surgical rooms and medical equipment, employees should be aware of the importance of having a clean working environment.
Most workplaces do have injury and illness programs, as stated by the law. However, a healthcare facility should go beyond the minimum safety requirements set by state laws.
The organization or healthcare facility should create a culture that promotes a safe and secure environment among its employees. It should come up with ways of discouraging employees from avoiding spilling and cluttering within their working spaces.
For example, the facility can create policies that reward those who maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and a form of punishment for those who blatantly clutter and violate rules on cleanliness and safety.
4. Stock Equipment Spare Parts
Most healthcare facilities rely on different types of medical equipment to function effectively. A good quality control program should have a list of all necessary equipment to operate optimally. All authorized employees should know where spare parts for different equipment are kept – and, if possible, be trained on how to replace them.
If equipment requires specialized handling or maintenance, employees should have contact numbers they can use in case of an emergency. The facility should also develop alternative protocols that guarantee patient safety if equipment breaks down or is under maintenance. It is even better if a facility has its own specialized technicians who can respond immediately if the equipment develops technical problems unexpectedly.
5. Educate and Train Managers
It is difficult to achieve quality control if there is no proper implementation strategy. It is the responsibility of the management to create these measures and introduce them to health workers. This will only be possible with great knowledge and skills at different levels of the quality assurance process.
Therefore, it is important to invest in the training of managers in various skills such as communication, delegation, leadership, and coaching heavily. Management training is important for the healthcare system because it is the focal point when it comes to the implementation of quality control. Technology is changing, and it is important to offer managers and employees adequate training on handling modern medical equipment.
Managers are the ones who determine if the employees will adhere to the set standards or not. As such, there should be a strong support to the management team – particularly in terms of regular training programs to impart knowledge and skills to managers at all levels of the organization. The facility should set aside funds dedicated to training as well as refresher training for all medical employees.
Generally speaking, healthcare is one of the most sensitive industries, and that’s why the importance of quality control cannot be ignored. There is a need for those concerned with QA to promote adherence in various hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Besides that, those who violate the set standards should be individually held accountable for their mistake.
Patients’ lives depend on how the healthcare facilities adhere to the set rules and regulations in the medical industry. It is the responsibility of every healthcare institution’s leadership to ensure that there is strict compliance to guarantee the safety of both patients and employees. There should be constant follow-up by the management to ensure that workers are following all set standards.