The Impact of Healthcare Quality and Risk Departments Teaming Up for Safer Care

October 22, 2020 RLDatix Marketing

Healthcare Quality Week (HQW), sponsored by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) takes place October 18th - October 24th this year, highlighting the hard work and dedication from healthcare and quality professionals around the worldThe world is navigating COVID-19 and its impactand healthcare quality staff’s critical work to support patient safety has never been more important.  

As healthcare continues to evolve, organizations are facing new and unique opportunities, making it increasingly important for providers to adopt a collaborative approach among departments in order to support the safety of all patients. To acknowledge HQW, we are highlighting the importance of collaboration between organizations’ quality and risk departments and how this can support patient safety and the overall function of healthcare organizations.  

Moving from Reactive to Proactive Risk Prevention  

Coordination of information is key part of risk reduction, improving patient satisfaction and preventing future incidents from occurring. With a robust patient safety software, such as RLDatix, interactive modules can link files and produce data reporting, supporting a better understanding of current risks and how to create policies that reduce harm in the future. 

Example Fall Scenario: A patient fall occurs which results in a family member submitting a complaint to a hospital.  

Integrated Solution: An organization equipped with RLDatix can use the software to capture the adverse event, analyze it with built-in tools and suggest risk reduction policies. Staff can submit an incident and then trigger a Root Cause Analysis within the RCA module. Once the risks are identified and analyzed, this information can be used to create and manage a new policy directly within the software. With data captured and a new policy in place around this event, an organization is better equipped to get ahead and prevent similar events from happening in the future.   

RLDatix has also recently launched a powerful new framework, Applied Safety Intelligence, which further connects patient safety and risk management by moving the industry from a retrospective review of adverse events towards a future of proactive prevention. When a harmful event occurs, everyone suffers. The only way we will get to zero harm is if we prevent harm from happening in the first place. This profound shift will usher in a new era of future-forward patient safety. As healthcare continues to evolvewith that comes the need for providers to adopt proactive programs and tools that support both their safety and quality initiatives. 

Risk & Quality Collaboration: The Financial Impact 

Healthcare providers recognize the financial implications of poor-quality care and how, ultimately, their reputation can be tarnished without collaboration between risk and quality teams. 

A 2006 report from the IOM indicates that 1.5 million injuries or deaths occur each year in the United States. These events were a result of error in prescribing, administering and dispensing of medications. Leading healthcare economist, Adam EBlock writes that “Based on projections of medical errors, actuarial estimates of costs for hospitals, and the potential reductions in costs due to known, evidence-based interventions, the total potential savings for the four major types of medical errors is $4,832,802 per 100,000 admissions, or a total of almost $48,328 for every 1,000 hospital admissions per year.” Healthcare organizations are presented with financial incentive to encourage risk and quality departments to work together in order to prevent avoidable medical errors.  

Providers see a clear need for risk and quality departments to work together. An increase in federal payment initiatives linked to healthcare quality such as value-based purchasing, provisions that exclude the costs associated with hospital-acquired conditions and financial penalties associated with high rates of patient readmission within 30 days of the patient being discharged for the treatment of specific conditions are all factors encouraging organizations’ quality and risk departments to partner together.  

Efforts to enhance quality improvement have resulted in a need for collaboration between quality and risk teams across the continuum of care. Some of these initiatives include The Leapfrog Group's public hospital reporting initiatives to assist healthcare purchasers, the National Quality Forum's (NQF) serious reportable events and recommendations of safe practices for healthcare organizations, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance's (NCQA) quality measures (called the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, or HEDIS) for managed care.” 

The Future of Collaboration Between Quality and Risk Teams  

The relationship between risk and quality in healthcare will continue to have aimpact on how organizations effectively support their patient safety and quality initiatives. When these two areas collaborate, they are better equipped to identify and address any overlapping issues that could be solved through a joint effort. This collaboration supports efficiency, allowing both risk and quality professionals to work together to support their shared interestswhile also focusing on their unique functions within an organization.   

RLDatix provides healthcare providers with an enterprise-wide risk management solution to strengthen collaboration between risk and quality teams for better, safer patient care. RLDatix’s suite of products can help reduce healthcare-acquired infections, report on adverse events, and ensure patient safety learnings are deployed effectively and immediately through dynamic policy and procedure management. 

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