Improving Patient Quality of Care in the Ever-Changing Healthcare System

Patient quality of care is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge. Improving patient quality of care is a key goal of health systems, as it can lead to better health outcomes, lower costs, and higher patient satisfaction. However, improving patient quality of care is not an easy task, as health systems face many challenges, such as increasing demand, limited resources, complex needs, diverse populations, and rapid changes in technology, science, and society. Therefore, health systems need to adopt effective strategies, policies, and practices to improve patient quality of care in the ever-changing healthcare system. In this article, we will discuss some of the ways of improving patient quality of care in the ever-changing healthcare system, and provide some examples of the best practices and initiatives that have been implemented in different countries.

Using Trained Personnel

One of the ways of improving patient quality of care in the ever changing healthcare system is to use trained personnel. A well-trained team of nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and other health professionals is critical for providing high-quality care with the desired outcomes. The lack of well-trained personnel or training facilities means that the quality of care will be below par and without improvement. Therefore, health systems need to invest in the education, training, and development of their health workforce, and ensure that they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies to deliver safe, effective, patient-centered, and timely care. Health systems also need to provide continuous learning opportunities, feedback, and support for their health personnel, and foster a culture of quality improvement and innovation.

One of the examples of using trained personnel to improve patient quality of care is the Nurse Mentorship program in Kenya. This program aims to improve the quality of maternal and newborn health services by providing mentorship and coaching to nurses and midwives in rural health facilities. The program trains and supports experienced nurses and midwives to become mentors, who then visit and work with their mentees in the health facilities, and provide them with guidance, feedback, and supervision. The program also uses mobile technology to facilitate communication and data collection between the mentors and the mentees. The program has been shown to improve the knowledge, skills, and confidence of the nurses and midwives, and to enhance the quality of care and health outcomes for mothers and babies.

Using Information and Communication Technologies

Another way of improving patient quality of care in the ever changing healthcare system is to use information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs are tools and systems that enable the collection, storage, processing, and exchange of information and data, such as electronic health records, telemedicine, mobile health, and artificial intelligence. ICTs can improve patient quality of care by facilitating access to information and services, improving communication and coordination, enhancing decision-making and diagnosis, reducing errors and waste, and enabling innovation and learning. Therefore, health systems need to adopt and integrate ICTs into their processes and practices and ensure that they are user-friendly, interoperable, secure, and ethical. Health systems also need to involve and empower patients and health professionals in the design, implementation, and evaluation of ICTs, and address the barriers and challenges that may hinder their adoption and use.

One of the examples of using ICTs to improve patient quality of care is the NHS App in the United Kingdom. This app is a digital platform that allows patients to access a range of NHS services and information through their smartphones or tablets. The app enables patients to book and manage appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view their medical records, check their symptoms, get advice, and access other online services. The app also allows patients to share their preferences and feedback, and to access their COVID-19 vaccination status. The app aims to improve patient quality of care by providing convenience, choice, and control, and by reducing the need for face-to-face contact and travel.

Taking a Systems View of Change

Another way of improving patient quality of care in the ever changing healthcare system is to take a systems view of change. A systems view of change is a perspective that recognizes that health systems are complex and dynamic and that improving patient quality of care requires addressing the interrelated and interdependent factors that influence it, such as the structure, culture, processes, people, and environment of the health system. A systems view of change also acknowledges that improving patient quality of care is not a linear or one-time event, but a continuous and adaptive process that involves multiple stakeholders, levels, and phases. Therefore, health systems need to adopt a systems approach to change and use methods and tools that can help them understand, measure, and improve the system as a whole, such as systems thinking, systems mapping, systems modeling, and systems engineering. Health systems also need to engage and collaborate with the patients, health professionals, managers, policymakers, and other partners who are part of the system, and foster a shared vision, goals, and values for improving patient quality of care.

One of the examples of taking a systems view of change to improve patient quality of care is the Learning Health System initiative in the United States. This initiative is a national effort to transform the health system into a learning health system, which is a system that can continuously and systematically collect, analyze, and apply data and evidence to improve its performance and outcomes. The initiative involves various stakeholders, such as researchers, clinicians, patients, and policymakers, who work together to generate, share, and apply knowledge and best practices to improve patient quality of care. The initiative also uses various methods and tools, such as electronic health records, clinical registries, clinical trials, quality improvement programs, and patient-reported outcomes, to measure and improve the system.

Conclusion

In conclusion, improving patient quality of care is a key goal of health systems, as it can lead to better health outcomes, lower costs, and higher patient satisfaction. However, improving patient quality of care is not an easy task, as health systems face many challenges, such as increasing demand, limited resources, complex needs, diverse populations, and rapid changes in technology, science, and society. Therefore, health systems need to adopt effective strategies, policies, and practices to improve patient quality of care in the ever changing healthcare system. Some of the ways of improving patient quality of care in the ever changing healthcare system are using trained personnel, using information and communication technologies, and taking a systems view of change. Some of the examples of the best practices and initiatives that have been implemented in different countries are the Nurse Mentorship program in Kenya, the NHS App in the United Kingdom, and the Learning Health System initiative in the United States. These examples show that improving patient quality of care is possible and achievable, if health systems are willing and able to embrace change and innovation, and to work together with the patients and other stakeholders who are part of the system.