Three Key Concepts to Put in Your Quality Plan

The Doctor's Office, August 7, 2008

A successful quality improvement plan will integrate that philosophy into ongoing practice procedures and policies, patient satisfaction, and staff member recognition.

The following are three concepts to consider implementing in your quality improvement plan as a way to create a quality culture among staff members and show how important these areas are to their jobs:

Believe in your practice's quality mission statement. It is important that your staff member stand behind your practice's mission statement and keep this in mind when performing every procedure. To make your patients more aware of your quality mission statement, post it on doors and rooms in the office, require staff members to include portions of it when speaking to patients, and invite patients to view it on your practice's Web page. You may also want to offer a refresher course to your staff members on important regulations and consequences of noncompliance that could potentially affect quality improvement.

Model the quality improvement behavior you want to see. Be sure to handle these operational procedures and policies in the same way that you taught your staff members so they see that you believe in quality as well. If you can model the kind of quality that you expect from your staff members, they will be more likely to follow your lead.

For instance, you can show your staff members how to handle a patient complaint by asking the patient to come in to the office to talk about the matter. Investigate the circumstances surrounding the problem, and interview everyone involved in the situation, including staff members and physicians. Once you have resolved the issue, point out the original problem, address how it has changed, and explain the significance in making this decision. Remember to follow up by monitoring your staff members to see how they handle patient complaints.

Reward staff members for their efforts toward quality. Your staff needs to know its value in the practice. For example, install a suggestion box at the front desk for staff members to nominate a fellow employee each month. This person is rewarded for going beyond the expectations of his or her position to produce a quality outcome. The key to instilling a successful quality plan is involving the entire office from the top down.

This article was adapted from one that originally ran in the August issue of The Doctor's Office, a HealthLeaders Media publication.
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