4 guiding principles for healthcare quality improvement

Leaders at the forefront of quality improvement should keep several guiding ideas in mind as they strive for success and seek to effectively carve out a path in that often-complex area.

It's during periods of change that healthcare leaders show their true colors, says Chris DeRienzo, M.D., chief quality officer at Mission Health, in an NEJM Catalyst blog post. Team members will look to them for stability and guidance during uncertain times, he writes.

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He offers four guiding principles to help leaders provide quality improvement support, particularly when tackling population health initiatives. Here's a brief summary:

  1. Consumer focus. There's no straightforward approach to a consistent, patient-centered experience across the care continuum, but it should be a guiding goal, DeRienzo writes.
  2. Strong partnerships. Form bonds with other leaders across the system, including physicians, human resources and information technology.
  3. QI culture. Give some of the responsibility for quality improvements to clinical staff and other stakeholders. When clinicians and other staff members are on board, improvements are more likely to succeed.
  4. Aligned metrics. It's hard to share metrics across multiple stakeholders, but take advantage when possible. 

Changing an internal culture is one of the key steps for any efforts in improvement, be it for patient safety or cybersecurity or quality, as FierceHealthcare has previously reported. Emotionally intelligent healthcare leaders will uphold the promises of that culture as well, to ensure that employees align to the organization’s values.