The Importance Of Health Care Quality In Healthcare

1454 Words 6 Pages
While the United States has been known as the land of opportunity inexpensive, quality healthcare has been an unobtainable dream for many Americans. When compared to other industrialized counties, The United States’ healthcare is more expensive, less efficient and more difficult to obtain (Mahon & Fox, 2014). Americans pay nearly twice as much for their healthcare, however the quality of care they obtain is only average. It is these troubling statistics that has lead for a push to monitor health care quality and make changes to the American healthcare system based on quality measures.
Healthcare quality is a measure of a medical establishment’s ability to provide care equal to current professional standards and expected patient outcomes (Huber,
…show more content…
The elevated incidences of preventable complications at AGH suggest that there is a quality problem at AGH. Unlike the recommendations made by Barnsteiner (2015a), AGH relies heavily on memory and vigilance to prevent adverse patient events. Additionally, while AGH meets staffing ratio benchmarks due to union contract, it comes at a price. Staffing shortages result in nurses working extra shifts and staying later to maintain patient ratios. This is detrimental to care quality as nurses that work longer than 10 hours are more likely to report the care they provide is poor and their work areas unsafe, than nurses that work 8 or 9 hour shifts (Stimpfel & Aiken, 2013). Unsurprisingly, patient outcomes have been shown to be negatively influenced by nursing shifts longer than 10 hours (Trinkoff et al., 2011). Naps and breaks have been shown to increase mental alertness, however, nurses at AGH often go without breaks and rest (Barnsteiner, 2015b). While the Institute of Medicine restricts the number of hours that residents can work and recommend that nurses cap hours worked at 60 per week, no such quality benchmarks have been instituted at AGH (Stowkoski, 2004). Given the large body of evidence indicating the dangers associated with fatigue, I believe a potential quality improvement project at AGH would be to implement …show more content…
As the quality improvement project will improve care quality but cost the hospital money, the best approach would be to present the evidence to the union. Given the evidence, the union could then demand that staffing levels should be maintained by hiring additional staff, not by relying on extended shifts and overtime. These demands could be negotiated into the hospital contract. Once the units are adequately staffed, overtime requirements would be reduced. The next step would be to draft a policy to change scheduling practices. Given staff preference for 12 hour workdays, it is unlikely that staff will agree to return to 8 hour shifts. However, capping shifts at 12 hours in a 24 hour period would has the potential to improve the quality of nursing care without negatively impacting staff satisfaction. To achieve the “Triple Aim” America’s healthcare system needs to be restructured to improve quality by taking a more holistic approach to healthcare (Johnson, 2013). Part of the holistic approach should involve considering the needs of the staff caring for the patient and the consequences of

Related Documents