What matters to you?
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Asia Pacific Forum – hosted by Ko Awatea and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Over 900 delegates from 16 countries were present, with guest speakers from America, UK and Singapore – this was truly a fantastic experience.
For me Quality improvement is about improving patient care, providing better diagnostics and procedures, improving workplace processes and systems, developing people and future leaders and improving cost savings.
During the Forum Maureen Bisognanao, the director of IHI –encouraged us to jot down 5 take home messages that were most significant to us.
Below are my thoughts.
What matters to you?
A lot of the time we practice ‘What’s the matter’ medicine. Patients come into Hospital with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, decreased mobility and what matters to us is that we fix him or her up. What if we asked the patient “What matters to you?” For example the busy mother of 3 who works shifts to put food on the table, the lady too scared to take her medications because her relative had a terrible experience with side-effects and a father who just wants to be well enough to go the gym again.
These patient stories are often unknown to us, yet these are the missing pieces of the puzzle which we can use to positively impact on a patient’s health, not directly but by understanding what matters to them.
Don’t be afraid of failure
The biggest catastrophe that can come from failure is not learning from our mistakes or passing on these lessons to others. Much like the quote “One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure,” the same can be said about failures. It illuminates the paths to avoid and the otherwise hidden ‘traps’, saving time, effort and money for the next time someone wants to do a similar project. There are places where failures are actually celebrated, recognised and appreciated. Failures are important.
Culture at CMDHB
Culture influences our work, our attitudes and values and I’m delighted to work in an organisation which supports a culture of innovation, improvement, challenge and change. We are all extremely lucky and previledged to be working in such an environment, where research opportunities are abundant and innovations are encouraged.
Quality leads to cost savings
Often we associate higher quality with higher costs, whether it’s for material goods or high quality services. Studies and real life situations have shown it is the contrary. By implementing good quality processes, diagnostics, treatment and performance, it was found that costs are lowered and patient outcomes dramatically improved.
There may be times when we see an initial spike in costs, but in the long term quality pays for itself and many times over. The return on investment for quality is huge. Preventing that broken bone with bisphosphonates, helping to prevent a heart attack by prescribing statins and preventing people coming back into hospital due to non compliance with taking medications. Quality is key. A great quote by Sir Muir Gray says “Waste is not just what is already in the bucket, it’s what we can get more value from if you invest it somewhere else.”
It’s all about the patients
We all come to work to provide the best care we can for our patients – that’s ultimately the reason we are here. If we overspend on inadequate, inappropriate under or over treatment there are a multitude of consequences. The patient’s health deteriorates, the patient gets readmitted, uses the hospital’s resources, the hospital bed, the doctor’s time and our time. This not only affects the patient, but also impacts on all the other patients for whom the resources, the hospital beds COULD have been used for. It’s the other patients that end up paying, the other patients that end up suffering.
On that note, I would like to share a quote by Albert Einstein that says “Insanity – is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
It is our DUTY to improve systems, by saying what we see, and sharing what we learn.
Intern Pharmacist | Pharmacy