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Introduction to Quality Assurance in Hospitals

Essay by   •  June 26, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  916 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,791 Views

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Introduction to Quality Assurance

Executive Summary:

After attending a meeting with management to discuss proposed changes in the Quality Assurance (QA) Program, several nurses and surgeons questioned the need for "the QA Program and all the added expense it has caused the hospital to fund at the expense of other programs." They further blamed the recent layoff of workers to the increasing costs of the QA Program. The following is a response to these statements and the information provided will discuss how hospitals can bring down spending without removing vital Quality Assurance programs.

Healthcare Quality Assurance:

Quality Assurance programs are designed to focus on patient safety, reducing medical errors, and bring down spending within healthcare communities. Healthcare Quality Assurance programs are responsible for evaluating processes and procedures in healthcare settings and improving policies for the overall well being of hospitals and the services they provide patients. Quality Assurance programs not only safe guards patient needs but healthcare facility investments as well.

Patient Safety:

Aside from reducing unnecessary hospital costs, QA teams also prepare guidelines which focus on quality care and patient safety. The National Patient Safety Foundation defines patient safety as the avoidance, prevention, and amelioration of adverse outcomes or injuries stemming from the processes of health care itself (NPSF.org). According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under the Department of Health and Human Services, medical errors happen when something that was planned as a part of medical care doesn't work out, or when the wrong plan was used in the first place (AHRQ, n.d.). Medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system. At Darnell Hospital a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) at Ft. Hood Texas, safety is emphasized through risk management procedures by using risk reduction matrixes in conjunction with meticulous "attention to detail" practices. Darnell Hospital being a teaching facility has had its QA programs set stern processes and regulations centering on patient safety and quality care. Darnall Hospital's QA teams focus on the avoidance of misdiagnosis, medication errors, and procedures to wrong extremities or body parts by strict enforcement of procedure and practices.

Medical Errors

There are various causes of medical errors ranging from administration, fatigue, the lack of training in hospital equipment and improper communication between staff members and/or patients among other possible circumstances. 44,000 to 98,000 patients in US hospitals die each year due to medical errors (Colie, 2001). Quality Assurance programs are designed to ensure that medical errors in healthcare facilities do not occur. Medical errors are reported to and recorded by Quality Assurance teams. This allows policies and procedures to be formed in order to prevent future errors from re-occurring. During an interview, Dr. Rosenstein of John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland stated that on occasion physicians have overridden safety delivery systems in drug delivery devices and without "discussing potential hazards with nursing and pharmacy staff more familiar with equipment". This is an example of both a failure

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