The definition of quality, as per the Oxford dictionary, is “the standard of something measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” Well, I have my own way of explaining what quality is all about. It is a question that I ask: “When will you wear the helmet? Before or after an accident?
The same answer would be, “Of course, before an accident.” One might even say, “I have been riding motorcycles for the last 20 years. I have never met with an accident.” One song by John Mayer says, “Bad news never has good timing.” So, we don’t know what the future holds. Therefore, it is always better to take the required precautions and be ever ready for uncertain, unforeseen, and undesirable events. This is probably the simplest example I can give to make one understand the importance of Quality. However, the processes in hospitals are nothing like just wearing a simple helmet. Neither is it as simple as wearing a mask nor wearing an apron. There are several layers of processes that need to be followed for just one particular reason: Patient Safety. If the patients are safe, many things will fall in place.
In medical settings, it is of utmost importance that we take the value of human lives as the most important thing in the world. Judging by the number of Quality Accredited Hospitals and Laboratories, it is evident that many Hospitals and Laboratories are working to get certifications. Among all those who have a high number of “Near Miss” incident reports being submitted every month with proper RCA-CAPA, are the ones who are serious, diligent, and committed to quality. If there are no Near Miss reports, it means the usually invisible and unseen processes which may take a big shape later are left as they are.
The whole purpose of a Hospital is to cure the ones who are sick. In order to do that well, quality is very important. Getting an accreditation for a hospital takes a lot of consistent hard work of many people across the hospital. It can be quite overwhelming for one single person. It must be a joint effort of every single person working in the hospital. Many will have a lot to contribute, and some will have less.
It is just like a ship dragged onto a beach towards the sea. Hundreds of people are involved in dragging the ship. There will be a range of people, starting from those pushing the ship the hardest to those doing nothing at all. And yes, there may be ones who would be teaming up to pull the ship back to the beach. This may sound familiar if you have gone through the accreditation process. Once the ship gets down in the water, the ship will sail for life. Similarly, once the accreditation is achieved, the real journey towards quality begins.
Now, going against the tide, it needs a great team of motivated qualified people to get the work done. A famous American author, Margaret Mead, had said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” So, all you need is a small team of thoughtful and committed staff to lead the whole hospital.
So, without using any jargon about Quality Accreditation, we may say that the end goal of getting into the Quality journey is Patient Safety.
Manager & Consultant, Integra Ventures