Cleveland Clinic: Quality improvement involves all hospital employees

Hospital that want to create a culture where all employees, from physicians to housekeepers, feel like caregivers must set and achieve goals for quality improvement, infection rates and patient experience, according to speakers from the Cleveland Clinic at the 2014 ACHE Congress in Chicago.

When employees feel they are part of the team, it's easier for them to achieve goals and commit to the success of the organization; as a result, those goals become part of the hospital culture, Chief Quality Officer J. Michael Henderson, M.D., said. "Get these goals easy enough and simple enough that anyone can talk about them."

Quality improvement goals are a partnership between the local owners and the groups that support them. Hospital leaders must take on a more supportive role and give the employees on the front lines of healthcare the chance to come up with how to drive and implement improvements, said Guido Bergomi, director of quality and patient safety. "People will own that improvement and sustain that improvement going forward," he said.

Leaders must not abdicate responsibility, but rather show support for strategic initiatives by prioritizing success, supporting the team involved and engaging the group to gauge progress. Hospital leaders must also identify and tap physician leaders that can dedicate time, demonstrate passion and commitment, have credibility within the organization and are effective communicators to lead quality improvement projects, Bergomi said. They should ensure the goals and projects are something that the designated team can accomplish within six months to a year, so funding, interest and enthusiasm don't diminish.

Assigned project teams and managers must use standardized documentation to make updates and quality metrics easy to decipher and disseminate and hold monthly reviews to update all relevant stakeholders as to quality improvement strategies' effectiveness, Bergomi said.