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Continuous Improvement in the Healthcare Industry

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The healthcare world is always changing – new technologies, new medications, and new approaches have changed the way the industry delivers care. This year alone with COVID-19, information and treatment plans are changing so quickly. That is why continuous improvement is so important for the healthcare industry. Organizations need to continue to adapt new processes in order to keep delivering quality care.

Here are some tips to implement a culture of continuous improvement.


1. Create a common language staff can understand

When trying to implement continuous improvement and lean six sigma processes, that complicated language can scare employees away. You want your staff to be enthusiastic about the changes so they will become ambassadors for change among their colleagues and encourage others to adapt as well. 

In order to do this, your organization can create more of a plain language that is easy to understand. Many healthcare organizations motivate staff with terms that highlight the benefits for patients. This patient focused approach should encourage communication throughout the organization.

2. Tailor the training

Training and coaching are crucial steps for continuous improvement success. Different staff members engage differently though. A lot of organizations found that nurses are quick to understand and engage with continuous improvement methods. In contrast, doctors found it more challenging to adapt. 

Tweaking the training for these different roles can be very beneficial. For example, you can emphasize the scientific approach to doctors because they might respond to that better.

3. Demonstrate early impact

Celebrating early successes are important to engage staff members and show how new processes are having a positive impact. Demonstrating the quick wins can help accelerate implementation. It also helps employees buy into the new processes because they know that it’s working.

4. Imbed changes at all levels

If you want your continuous process improvement strategy to work, it needs to be implemented on all levels. Everyone needs to be on board and in communication with each other. From nurses to surgeons, everyone needs to be recognized and appreciated. 

5. Engage and empower patients

Everything should be patient centered. The main goal is to improve the patient experience and deliver them quality care, so it’s important to always keep the patient in mind when making critical decisions. 

Additionally, patients can help determine what areas need improvement. Some organizations encourage patients to suggest improvements and review progress. It depends on the healthcare setting, but it can be a great way to engage the patients and listen to their needs.

 

Continuous improvement can have such an important impact on healthcare organizations. It can help reduce patient wait times, reduce medication errors, save medical centers and hospitals money, and so much more. 



Written by Sarah Chesla

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