Organizations that are about to replace the paper process or current digital system are struggling with many questions, such as: What software is available? What makes a good package? What do you need to be aware of? How do you make a good selection? But also: What can you expect nowadays? After all, technology is changing faster and faster. All these questions can be listed in a Request for Information. But how do you write a proper Request for Information? Where do you start? This blog describes what you need to take into account when you are in the process of writing a request for information.
When drawing up a sound Request for Information you need to realize that good preparation makes all the difference.
Determine the definition of a quality management system
When preparing for the purchase or replacement of software, it is advisable for an organization as a whole to determine the definition of a quality management system. This provides clarity for the persons involved. What exactly has triggered the purchasing need? This will clarify the requirements for the software.
Determine the definition of a quality management system together so that it is clear what the organization understands by a quality management system.
A possible definition may be:
“A digital quality management system allows organizations to consolidate activities that improve the quality of care in one place, so the organization knows what actions are taken, when, and by whom. It forms part of the institution’s overall management system and aims to improve patient safety, and hence quality of care. This should ultimately lead to a maximum reduction of preventable errors in healthcare. A quality management system combines methodologies to identify the risks within an institution.”
Clarify organizational objectives
It is important for organizations to ask themselves which objectives they want to achieve and how a quality management system can support this.
A quality management system may serve a wide range of objectives:
- Improving patient/client satisfaction
When special attention is paid to safety of care, patient satisfaction will increase. By being aware of preventable and unintentional errors in care processes, specific measures can be taken to improve care, and thus patient safety and satisfaction.
- Cost management by reducing preventable errors
Preventable errors have an impact on a care institution’s finances. Just think for example of the costs incurred when a patient does not have an empty stomach when he is sent to the operating room. At the first check-up, the patient is sent back. What are the costs of a surgical team doing nothing, as they have to wait for the next patient? By gaining insight into errors, costs can be reduced without having to implement cutbacks.
- Increasing the organization’s effectiveness
Reported incidents give insight into the weak links within the organization. Are there particular processes about which reports are received regularly? Analyzing and subsequently improving these processes can immediately increase effectiveness. A quality management system also contributes to process automation, which increases productivity.
- Improving customer service
When effectiveness and safety are improved, the institution’s customer service also improves. Assessment of reported incidents and complaints make clear which parts of the customer service can be improved.
- Improving the safety culture and risk awareness
A digital quality management system improves the safety culture. Incidents are no longer discussed behind closed doors, but are addressed in teams or committees. As a consequence, health professionals realize that it could have also happened to them. This increases risk awareness.
- Providing insight into performances at individual and team levels
Incident reports per department, team, process or individual provide insight into which parts of the organization merit greater attention. However, if most reports are received about a particular department, this does not necessarily mean the safety of that department is below standard. It also says something about the culture and risk awareness of the department in question.
- Improving handling of complaints and reported incidents
Handling of complaints and incidents can be easily monitored through the Quality Management System. For each process step the system clearly shows what actions have been completed and what actions must still be carried out, when, and by whom. The tasks and responsibilities for each process step are also documented in the system.
Mapping current processes and user roles
When purchasing software, it is advisable for organizations to assess current processes and user roles. These form a good starting point for the requirements that must be met by the software. These roles include all professionals and key officials involved in the organization’s quality and safety.
Implementation of a digital quality management system affects all layers of the care institution. Setting up a project team is an important first step. A project team facilitates involvement during implementation and positively influences acceptance by the organization. They name the bottlenecks of the current quality management system or paper-based working method.
Setting up a project team is an important first step. They name the bottlenecks of the current quality management system or paper-based working method.
This information can be translated into the Request for Information for the new system. Decisions can also be made regarding various key positions, roles and corresponding rights and responsibilities.
Take into account the laws and regulations
Laws and regulations impose basic requirements on the quality reports that care institutions must submit for accreditation purposes or the inspectorate. When drawing up the Request for Information it is therefore important to take into account the reporting functionality of the software.
The reporting tool can directly contribute to generating data for the inspectorate, institutes for healthcare improvement or health insurance companies, but these can of course also be used as guidance for management and the Board of Directors.
Download the e-book: RFI Quality Management System
Do you want to learn more about how to write a Request for Information for a digital quality management system? Click here to download the e-book. You can use the e-book as a guide to write your own RFI/RFP. You can also use it to assess if TPSC Cloud™ may be a suitable system for your own organization.
Wendy Rientjes, 2019