Among the myriad challenges that face many healthcare organizations is their need to improve quality and safety. While other provider areas, such as the credentialing of clinicians, are governed by strict standards and professional rigor, preparation of quality and safety professionals has failed to receive a similar focus, industry-wide. Even though quality and safety are foundational components of the practice of healthcare and key to better outcomes, how to achieve them is only beginning to get the attention and commitment it deserves.
During a webinar focused on the need and effort to improve healthcare quality, Stephanie Mercado, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director for HealthStream’s partner, the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), emphasized the importance of establishing standard competencies for healthcare quality and safety. She shared that even though the industry has spent decades layering on regulations and its own ambitions for quality, what has been lacking is the support of standard systems, process, and structure. In addition, the “momentous job of improving quality has really been created on the fly at a local level, with the predominant form of preparation as on the job training.“
Workforce development is key for healthcare quality and safety
Workforce readiness is more important than ever for healthcare, which has been hit hard by the decline in the number of people looking for work. By some accounts “there are fewer job seekers than the total number of jobs available.” It makes more sense than ever to train existing teams and employees to assume important roles that support quality and safety. Mercado advises healthcare leaders to “consider taking ownership at the organizational level to train and upskill your teams, especially during this challenging hiring period.”
Focusing on healthcare quality through education
Over recent years, a great deal of work has gone into what needs to be done to drive the healthcare quality and safety agenda forward. Specifically, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has promoted the Quadruple Aim, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has outlined the six aims for healthcare. NAHQ is the only organization dedicated to healthcare quality professionals, and NAHQ’s contribution is to facilitate understanding of how to do this work and how healthcare professionals can be purposefully prepared to achieve these quality goals. With more than 40 years of rich history in healthcare quality workforce competencies and workforce development, the goal at NAHQ is to improve healthcare delivery by reducing variability in healthcare quality competencies.
NAHQ offers the only accredited certification in healthcare quality, the CPHQ, and developed the twice validated industry standard Healthcare Quality Competency Framework, which provides a list of all competencies that must be present in a high functioning quality program. In turn, this framework is the basis for NAHQ team training, now available through HealthStream.
This blog post is based on the HealthStream webinar, “How Competency-Based Training Impacts Organizational Healthcare Quality.” Learn more about HealthStream solutions focused on improving healthcare quality and safety.
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