7 Ways to Prioritize Quality and Safety in Your Practice
Providing safe and high-quality care to your patients doesn’t need to add an additional burden to you or your staff, but it should always be a top priority within your office.
Common errors that can occur in an office setting include diagnostic errors, medication errors, and errors related to communication and the flow of information. This blog will cover seven strategies to prioritize quality and safety and prevent these problems from occurring in your practice.
Communication is important both to your staff, as well as your patients. In all outpatient care settings (medical, dental, long-term care, and otherwise), forming a relationship with your patient is crucial to providing high-quality care. According to this guide by AHRQ, “patient and family engagement in primary care helps to forge trusting relationships that promote safety.”
Time is usually the biggest barrier to effective communication. In the long run, it’s worth taking a little more time to have actionable discussions with your team members. This will help your patients feel safer and allows you to guide them toward smart decisions about their care.
When considering how to upgrade technology, evaluate the patient’s entire experience with your practice. This starts with scheduling the appointment (whether in the office as a follow-up, on a website/portal, or by phone) and also includes departing and receiving follow-up communications.
If you are not using a patient portal to schedule appointments, send messages, or see test results, it may be time to start using one. According to a recent Harris Poll, four in five Americans want the ability to use technology to manage their healthcare experience.
Look for ways to implement technology to ensure patients have a smoother experience once they step into the office. Additionally, utilizing tools for your staff, such as the XenonChex platform, can help you implement guides and videos as support throughout the day.
3. Create a Team Culture
We’ve discussed the importance of establishing communication strategies at your practice in previous blogs. Your staff members are the first ones to interact with patients, and they should have enough time to fully understand their needs. They should also have access to avenues that allow them to share feedback they hear so upper management can make future improvements.
In addition to encouraging your staff to take time with each patient, you should also have a process in place for making improvements or correcting errors. If you can have positive discussions when minor errors occur, your team members are less likely to repeat mistakes and will know how to put safety at the forefront.
4. Survey Your Patients
Give patients the opportunity to share feedback on their experience and the level of care they are receiving. This should be the most important tool you use when it’s time to make improvements. Remember to stay open to this feedback, whether it is positive or negative.
Taking this feedback seriously helps you improve your practice’s reputation. Given that 72% of patients view online reviews when selecting a new provider, it’s important to respond to current concerns and make strides to optimize patient satisfaction.
5. Educate Your Patients
The majority of patients will have, at most, a basic knowledge of the issues that bring them into your office. If you take the time to educate your patients on the reasons behind their visit, including medication options, side effects, or other choices they may need to consider, then they will likely perceive a higher value from their visit.
It is important to note that this doesn’t need to add extra time to each visit. Use pamphlets or educational materials, and empower your staff members to step in and have some of these discussions where appropriate. If there are questions that staff members are unable to answer or that come up later, make sure your patients are comfortable reaching out to follow up and get the information they need.
6. Create Goals Related to Safety and Quality
Create goals to improve safety and quality within your practice. We’ve discussed how SMART goals can be used for practices, as well as for individuals.
Analyzing the results of your patient surveys is a great place to start if you aren’t sure how to begin. Make sure that all staff members can contribute to the discussion when setting these goals and bring them in as required to make improvements. Staff should also know the timeline that you are using to track improvements and if there are additional check-in points scheduled.
7. Prevent Staff Burnout
When your staff members are tired, stressed, or rushed, errors can occur. Prioritizing the health and wellness (mentally and physically) of your staff can help prevent burnout and empower team members to make the right choices. This could also improve morale!
While this is an important metric to track in any industry, it’s especially critical in the healthcare sector, where research shows that 54% of nurses and physicians and up to 60% of medical students suffer from burnout.
The safety of your staff is just as important as the safety of each patient. Provide mental wellness days and allow your staff to be open if they are feeling overwhelmed. This helps create a more open environment and improves employee retention.
Using a tool like the XenonChex platform can help you prioritize safety and quality within your practice. Whether you’re printing out educational materials, administering a survey, tracking goals, or creating a how-to guide, you will find all that and more by partnering with XenonChex.
Ready to get started? Contact us today!