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How to Stay Focused on Quality during a Challenging Pandemic Environment

A little over twelve months ago, quality was a hot topic among healthcare executives looking to achieve higher patient satisfaction scores and gain more value from their respective departments. When COVID-19 hit, quality initiatives immediately took a back seat to obtaining extra ventilators, rationing PPE, searching for opportunities to mitigate deep financial losses, and establishing new protocols built from the ground up with little to no understanding of what to expect from the pandemic.

Now the pandemic is here, patients are still pouring in, and healthcare providers are focused on how to handle the surges of patients. What about quality improvement? A thorough Quality Improvement (QI) program is more important now than ever. A strong quality improvement program arms healthcare practitioners with the ability to quickly identify weaknesses in the care provided to patients suffering from COVID-19 by providing them with visibility into the key quality metrics impacting patient care protocols and quality outcomes. Providers can leverage this data to establish Key Performance Indicators(KPIs), set goals for better care, and track the improvement utilizing data accessible in real time.

One strategy to stay focused on quality improvement in today’s chaotic pandemic environment is to delegate quality improvement responsibilities to an Anesthesia Management company. Outsourcing can free up departmental resources, yet still identify weaknesses, set goals, define KPIs, and produce action items to achieve quality improvement benchmarks. All the departments that are assigned QI programs can now focus on what their own needs are and report directly to the centralized quality improvement board.

By delegating the QI program development and maintenance, the facility benefits from several key factors. First, management companies will be experts within their own fields. In today’s busy healthcare landscape it’s impossible for administrators to consider themselves experts on individual departments. Specialty specific input from Anesthesia Management companies leads to identification of weaknesses only experts within the field would appreciate. Secondly, delegating the QI implementation process frees up key administrative resources, which allows administrators to focus on what is currently pressing, such as COVID-19. Additionally, industry experts within these management companies can identify realistic and achievable goals and set key action items that can be implemented to achieve those goals.

Anesthesia Management companies are uniquely positioned to assist with the QI process because they are already in control of departmental oversight and accountability. Clinicians can be included in the process of identifying goals, establishing benchmarks based on historical data, developing and tracking KPIs identified, and generating and distributing quality reports to the centralized board that is designated for Quality Improvement. Management company partnerships should involve some form of quality improvement as part of the value-added service of the partnership. If not, are you getting the full benefit of your management partner?