5 Types of Quality Measures in the Healthcare Industry
For most healthcare organizations, measuring the excellence of anything can be challenging. After all, how can you use numbers to define quality? However, the healthcare sector surpassed this challenge by measuring specific outcomes of care to determine eminence.
In general, outcomes that have a higher chance of success translate to a superior quality of care. As a result, hospitals gain increased funding to act on their quality statements. On the other hand, poor quality of care skyrockets costs and can put lives at risk.
Quality measures are the tools that help healthcare organizations quantify care processes, patient perceptions, outcomes, and organization structure/systems. There are numerous quality measures, and each of them is helpful throughout healthcare, from health insurance to the doctor’s office. Every quality measure offers a picture of specific healthcare services. It is necessary for determining the complete quality of care.
To help healthcare organizations provide the utmost quality of care and positive patient outcomes, we’ll discuss five prevalent measurements to start following now.
Patient experience is a priority measure of quality because it is a combination of process and outcome. These measures offer insight into the level of care patients receive. For instance, how quickly do patients get a doctor to come and see them in the ER, or how effectively doctors communicate with their patients. Besides providing care inside the premises, healthcare providers must be well-equipped to offer out-of-hospital acute care. Meaning they must transport definitive care to patients with injuries and sufferings in disastrous situations outside hospital premises. For instance, cases of natural or biological calamities. All of which combine to establish a medical emergency. This form of care is known as an Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
However, EMS is not for the faint at heart. So, if you’re a healthcare provider aiming to step into this service and provide care to patients in the most efficient manner, applying for an EMS training program will prove helpful. Thanks to eLearning, professionals from various fields can expand their education without disrupting their current routine. For instance, an online EMS training program builds emergency-handling skills, preparing workers to improve healthcare outcomes. These programs train individuals to work under pressure and as a team in disastrous emergencies.
Patient safety is yet another quality measure that emerges with the evolving complexity in healthcare systems and the alarming rise of patient harm in healthcare facilities. It aims to reduce and prevent risks, damages, and errors during the provision of care.
Following are a few elements that require correction to ensure patient safety:
- Complication rate: This refers to the percentage of patients who develop surgical complications because of meager treatment. Hospitals that regularly perform high-risk surgeries have a high rate of complications, leading to poor quality of care.
- The number of medication errors: This relates to the frequency of errors that arise when prescribing medication. The root of the problem could lie within the facility’s medication ordering system.
- Post-procedure death rate: This refers to the number of deaths that occur after operation/treatment. Certain death-related expectations are set for every procedure – from high to low. It can be tracked hospital-wide, as well as for surgical teams and specific divisions.
- Percentage of patients leaving against medical advice: This is for the patients who check out of the healthcare organization against doctors’ advice. An alarming percentage may mean the organization is not adequately serving patients who require treatment, leading to high readmission rates or more safety issues.
Process measures indicate a healthcare provider to improve or maintain health services, either for those diagnosed with a medical condition or for those who are completely fine. These quality measures typically imitate generally established recommendations for clinical practice. For instance:
- The percentage of patients with diabetes who had their blood sugar levels tested and maintained
- The percentage of patients receiving preventative services such as immunizations or mammograms
Process measures can give insight to patients regarding the medical care they should be issued for a given disease or condition. It significantly contributes to enhancing patient outcomes. Moreover, the majority of healthcare quality outcomes used for reporting are process measures.
As stated above, process measures define evidence-based treatment administered to a patient. In contrast, outcome measures assess the effect of that treatment on the patient’s health.
Outcome measures are the cavities into which the process fits. They consider the unintended – or intended – effect of care on the patient. Furthermore, outcome and process measures go hand in hand because process measures align with the outcome. Hence, improving a process can result in a positive effect.
Efficiency, timeliness, and effectiveness
Effectiveness measures are devoted to services based on established medical knowledge or treatments (care proven to provide effective results). Timeliness measures assess the promptness of services (minimizing discharge delays, wait times, etc.). Efficiency measures prioritize avoiding waste (resources, equipment, or time). The majority of these are primarily included in grander quality improvement programs as well.
Below are some factors that contribute to these measures:
- Readmission rate: This relates to the fraction of patients readmitted divided by the complete number of patients aided during a specific timeframe. An alarming percentage could indicate the care is ineffective and insufficient.
- Average minutes per surgery: This is the time required to complete a surgical procedure. References, type, or surgery usually segment it. Abnormally long surgeries or high variations in time may indicate the surgical operation is not structured methodically, leading to a decreased form of care.
- Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs): This refers to the number of new conditions or diseases patients contracted during their stay. These conditions can directly result from acquiring care to ranging from medication and allergic reactions or pressure ulcers.
As you can see, it’s become essential to ensure there are enough resources available to help people live healthier lives.
Almost all patients seek the same healthcare outcomes. They seek to be symptom-free, self-sufficient, and capable of pursuing activities that offer them a sense of satisfaction without medical interruptions. Suppose healthcare organizations measure outcomes based on these essential human needs. In that case, tremendous progress will be made in the areas that most deeply influence patients and their families. Such appropriate developments demand quality measures. The types of quality measures listed in this article ensure patients receive effective, safe, and responsive care.