Hospital administrators are finding that true continuous quality improvement (CQI) requires a radical change in thinking.
For decades, automakers, the packaging industry and the airline industry have created better products, improved processes and greatly increased user satisfaction by adopting the principles of CQI—which, simply put, means constantly looking at our processes and asking ourselves, “Can we do it better”?
CQI principles have been applied to the delivery of healthcare with great success. Hospitals have created and employed myriad mechanisms for all staff members/personnel to continually improve existing processes. But hospital leaders and administrators know that even after decades of dutifully applying the principles of CQI to improving delivery of care, the patient’s journey from admission to discharge is still all too often filled with missed opportunities for a speedier journey through the system and better care overall.
Administrators at leading hospitals are finding that, in some cases, CQI means adopting an entirely new model of delivery. They are also finding that the most efficient way to deliver care is also the most patient-friendly. Let me explain.
“What does the 21st Century Physician look like?”
Lisa Fields (@PracticalWisdom) cc’ed me on a tweet about this; it’s the featured question at www.tomorrowsdoctor.org, an organization founded by three young professionals who spoke at TEDMED last year.
I’ll admit that the question on the face of it struck me as a bit absurd, especially when juxtaposed with the term “tomorrow’s doctor.”
Tomorrow’s doctor needs to be doing a much better job of dealing with today’s medical challenges, because they will all be still here tomorrow. (Duh!) And the day after tomorrow.
(As for the 21st century in general, given the speed at which things are changing around us, seems hard to predict what we’ll be doing by 2050. I think it’s likely that we’ll still end up needing to take care of elderly people with physical and cognitive limitations but I sincerely hope medication management won’t still be a big problem. That I do expect technology to solve.)
After looking at the related Huffington Post piece, however, I realized that this trio really seems to be thinking about how medical education should be changed and improved. In which case, I kind of think they should change their organization’s name to “Next Decade’s Doctor,” but I can see how that perhaps might not sound catchy enough.