Performance improvement (PI) in healthcare is essential to improve health, patient experience, and reduce costs. PI projects became low, inconsistent and weakly-sustained in our hospital. The low number and low sustainability were scarcely in alignment with our strategic goal to become a high reliability organization (HRO). This was due to lack of standardized knowledge and ability to initiate and sustain PI projects. Therefore, a structured framework was developed, followed by the building of capacity and capability in the use of robust process improvement (RPI) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A team of healthcare quality professionals collaborated with Hospital Performance Improvement-Press Ganey for hospital-wide quality improvement project. The team received training on RPI from Press Ganey and created the framework to use . This framework is based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Model for Improvement, Lean, Six Sigma, and FOCUS-PDSA (Find-Organize-Clarify-Understand-Select-Plan-Do-Study-Act). Thereafter, the team of internal coaches organized an RPI training course that consisted of 6 sessions, for clinical and nonclinical staff , using classroom and virtual sessions during the pandemic. This course was increased to eight sessions to avoid information overload. Process measures were collected using a survey to obtain feedback, whereas outcome measures were from the number of completed projects and their effects related to costs, access to care, waiting time, number of harms, and compliance.
Participation and submission improved after three PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycles. This resulted in an increased number of completed and sustained projects from 50 in 2019 to 94 in 2020 and continued to rise to 109 in 2021. There were 140 and 122 certified RPI coaches in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Although there was a decrease in the number of certified coaches in 2021, the number of completed projects was higher than in 2020. The overall effect of these completed projects by the third quarter of 2021 showed improvement in access to care by 39%, compliance to standards of care by 48%, satisfaction by 8%, and reduction in costs by 47,010 SAR, in waiting time of 170 hours, and in the number of harms by 89.
This quality improvement project led to enhanced capacity of staff as seen in the increased number of certified RPI coaches, thereby increasing the submission and completion of projects in 1 year. Its sustainability during the 2 succeeding years continued to enhance project completion and maintenance, bringing quality improvement benefits to the organization and the patients.
Source of Support: King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh.
Conflict of Interest: None.