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Embrace Six Aims for Improvement

Good advice is never outdated, especially when caring for patients or customers.

As our nation’s leaders focus their efforts on transforming America’s health care system, we can learn from a brief review of the Institute of Medicine’s 2001 “Crossing the Quality Chasm” report that helped lay the foundation to redesign medical care. Health systems across the nation responded to the report with an increased emphasis on quality, relying on business tools – such as Lean initiatives and performance improvement teams – to improve the patient care experience.

12965830-600x800_target According to the report, the goal of a reform effort should be to ensure that health care is marked by six essential attributes. But I believe any organization, from its clients to employees, also can benefit from these aims for improvement:

  1. Safety – Customers and your employees should be as safe in your organization as they are in their own homes. Maintain up-to-date employee training programs and encourage open communication to decrease workplace injuries.

  2. Effectiveness – In health care, this means matching patient care to science, often called evidence-based medicine. Other industries use “best in class” models or retain third-party research firms to establish the most effective business models.

  3. Patient Centeredness (or Customer Centeredness) – Honor the individual, respecting the customer’s choice, culture and specific needs. Implement opportunities to customize your product, such as Capital One’s® Image Card that lets users upload their favorite photo to create a personalized credit card for shopping expeditions.

  4. Timeliness – Eliminate wait times by analyzing workplace systems and processes to identify roadblocks (points where people, parts or information are delayed waiting for technology, materials or additional information), and then remove them. This unlocks valuable resources that could be used to deliver revenue building services and products.

  5. Efficiency – Determine the most efficient and cost effective methods to run your organization. Evaluate and eliminate inefficiencies in your process and reduce waste of supplies, equipment, space and resources. Deliver world-class customer service.

  6. Equity – Most organizations have anti-discrimination policies on the books. However, walking the talk is the next step to ensure a fair and dynamic work environment. Live your mission, vision and values to create a culture where all ideas are accepted.

An emphasis on these aims for improvement resulted in motivated employees, reduced wait times, decreased hospital-acquired infections and fewer frustrations for patients and families. Imagine what your team can accomplish.

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