To be able to answer this question, we first need to consider the usefulness and the necessity of a quality management system. A digital quality management system contributes to the quality and safety of a healthcare institution. By automating processes, productivity increases. Tasks and responsibilities (relating to for example analysis and follow-up of incidents) are clear, as such matters are laid down in the quality management system.
When purchasing a digital quality management system it is advisable to check which professionals will be affected by changes as a result of the software. Set up a project team, so parties concerned from different disciplines can contribute their ideas regarding needs and wants with respect to the software. It promotes involvement during implementation and positively affects acceptance by the organisation.
A project team consisting of parties from different disciplines can contribute their ideas regarding needs and wants with respect to the software. It promotes involvement during implementation and positively affects acceptance by the organisation.
Project team of a digital quality management system
Implementation of a digital quality management system affects all layers of the healthcare institution. Therefor setting up a project team is an important first step. They name the bottlenecks of the current quality management system or paper-based method of working. This information can be translated into wants and needs with respect to the new system. At this point, decisions can also be made regarding various key positions and corresponding rights and responsibilities. But what are the key positions?
1. The Quality manager
The quality manager is usually responsible for internal accountability (towards management and supervisors) and external accountability for obtaining quality labels and accreditations. Without a digital system, a lot of time is wasted on gathering information from files from different staff members who bear the operational responsibility.
A digital quality management system allows the quality manager to immediately gain insight into the quality of care within the entire care institution.
When incidents are consistently reported in the system, it not only provides an accurate picture of the weak links within the different departments, but also of the entire care processes and different safety issues. This enables the quality manager to immediately manage those processes that require attention.
Improvement projects from the entire organisation are recorded and centrally monitored in a digital improvement action tracking system. This allows the quality manager to gain a perception of the improvement plans drawn up by the departments, their progress and the results achieved.
All in all we can say that a digital quality management system gives a quality manager more control over the quality and safety of the care institution and at the same time allows the manager to exert more influence.
All reports (incidents, complaints, etc.) generate real-time management information. This is presented in the form of graphical dashboards and reports. By applying the filter function, the quality manager can check the current state of quality and safety per department, division or topic.
2. The department head
The head of a care department does not need to assess each incident in terms of content. This can be left to the department’s quality officer or the incident/safety committee. A quality management system, however, allows the department head to stay informed on the department’s safety, as management dashboards can be set up as desired. This provides the head with real-time information regarding safety issues that require attention within the department. The department head can generate periodic reports from these dashboards to provide feedback to management as to whether or not the quality and safety of the department are guaranteed.
3. The healthcare providers
When healthcare providers (doctors, nurses/carers, paramedics) want to report an incident, they can do so digitally by submitting an online reporting form via desktop, tablet or telephone.
The notifier is informed proactively of the status of the report. For example, when the report is being processed and when an improvement project is being initiated. As the notifier is kept informed of the status of the incident, (s)he feels taken seriously. This increases involvement and willingness to report, ultimately benefiting the safety in the care institution.
4. The Board of Directors
By using a digital quality management system, The Board of Directors always has a clear perception of the state of affairs in the care facility through dashboards and reporting tools. Dashboards can be set up as desired, allowing the Board real-time access to the required operational control information. It supports them in making informed choices with respect to quality and safety.
The quality management system can be set up in such a way that the Board is immediately notified in the event of a calamity. This allows the organisation to respond quickly and take the right decisions.
5. The Safety Committee
The safety committee has the right to examine all incident reports. Roles and rights can be assigned to each committee member, for example depending on the severity of the incident.
In the past, incident analysis was mostly done on paper. This process will become much simpler for the committee, as they can now analyse the incidents from the quality management system. Through the system, they can initiate improvement actions and assign responsibilities for implementation.
As mentioned earlier, the notifier is actively informed about the status of the incident by the safety committee, which increases the visibility of the committee within the organisation.
6. The ICT department
The digital quality management system can be offered from the cloud as Software as a Service (SaaS). Software updates will be automatically installed in the cloud. Updates, backups and performance are no longer subjects that require the ICT department’s attention.
Security meets the highest standards and system monitoring, uptime and performance are the responsibility of the supplier 24/7 and are quickly adjusted in critical situations.
The role of system administrator is easy and can be handled by the Quality Department.
Digital Quality Management System, the internal business case
Is your organisation about to transition from a paper-based to a digital workplace? Or does the organisation already have a digital quality management system, but wants to replace it? In both cases it is advisable to write a business case.
The business case describes the purpose of the project and provides insight into costs and benefits. A clear business case ensures involvement and improves the chances of successful implementation.
Do you want to know more about writing a business case for a digital quality management system? Download the ebook ‘Digital Quality Management System, the internal business case’.
Wendy Rientjes, 2018