The number of quality management software packages available is huge. However, the functionality offered varies significantly. It is therefore particularly important for the care institution to consider the Request for Information that must be met. In this blog you can read which functional requirements are generally included in the Request for Information:
- User management
- Type of reports
- Handling reports
- Analyzing reports
- Management dashboards
- Continuous improvement
It is important that existing processes are used as a starting point when formulating a Request for Information. In doing so you will prevent the care institution from being forced to tailor existing processes and practices to the software.
In the Request for Information, do not only describe the numbers and types of user roles that need to be defined in the software, but also describe which rights the different users need to get and up to which level. Who has access to which files? And which rights are assigned to each user? Are these rights read-only or do they give also permission to write? Can rights only be allocated on an individual level? Or can this also be done on a group level? For example, per team or committee?
There may even be differences in the rights assigned within a separate group. For example, one group member can only read a report while another group member can also write or edit a report.
It may also be desirable to have different rights within one report or file. When all group members cannot access all tabs, this immediately distinguishes the rights of each user within one group.
If you want to automate/digitalize the workflow within your organization, it is advisable to include this option in the Request for Information. In doing so, you can draw up a specific workflow for all types of reports (incidents and complaints) and link all process steps to a corresponding official or process owner. This will provide insight into the processing status of each step and will make it easier for the quality manager to monitor progress and outcomes.
Type of reports
Is the software only used to report incidents or does the care institution (in the future) also want to digitally register complaints? If so, the Request for Information should take the different types of reports or registrations into account.
When multiple matters can be reported within one software package, this creates a complete picture of the care institution’s risks and weak links. This underpins the quality of care. Incidents and complaints, as well as the associated improvement action, can also be linked. This provides the quality manager with an overview that allows him to see where quality of care can be improved.
In addition to the different types of reports, it is also advisable to consider the following matters and subsequently convert them into wishes in the Request for Information:
- How is a report created? Is this only possible by filling out an online form? Or can a report also be created automatically through a different system?
- Are reports processed real-time so that the correct number of reports is available to anybody, at any time?
- Does the system allow for anonymous reporting?
- Is reporting possible at any time and from anywhere via smartphones, laptops, tablets or computers?
- Can different organizations report in the same system? Consider for example system-wide partnerships.
- Can we, as an organization, compose the report forms ourselves or are standard forms available?
New reports are processed in the back office. Again, it is important that the current way of working is used as a starting point. Can the software support the current processes? To find out you can ask the following questions:
- If necessary, can reports be shared with other users depending on their access rights?
- Based on certain criteria, is it possible to send notifications and alerts for reports that require (immediate) attention/action?
- Does the system support assignment of priorities for handling events? And in which way are priorities made visible?
- Is it possible to assign actions to a specific person?
- Does the system support sending status updates to the reporter / initiator of a report?
- Can the system link different reports (cross-referencing)? For example, when an incident (reported by a staff member) is associated with a complaint reported by a patient?
- Can the system store (external) documents related to an event?
- Does the system support the monitoring of processing times?
It is also important for the care institution to consider the desired options for analysis of the reports. The following questions can be taken into account when drawing up the Request for Information.
- Is the seriousness of the incident assessed at the time of reporting, so that a priority can be assigned for investigation of the incident?
- Does the system support analysis of events at different levels?
- Does the software offer the possibility of automated analysis tools, for example the causal tree, cause and effect diagram, barrier analysis and process analysis?
Management dashboards and reporting
Management dashboards and reports are essential to be able to manage by quality and safety. It is therefore important for care institutions to carefully check if the software has the appropriate reporting functionalities. This is done by asking the following questions:
- Do reports contain real-time data?
- Can (periodic) reports be generated quickly and easily by using templates without requiring supplier involvement?
- Can employees generate on-demand reports themselves?
- Is it possible to communicate workflow progress through a dashboard functionality?
- Can dashboards be personalized for different user groups?
- Can the software synchronize with our organization’s local database and connect with our current Business Intelligence tools?
- Is the system capable of planning and distributing predefined reports?
Continuous quality improvement is, of course, inherent in the quality management system. Software can support this. A good quality management system supports the entire PDCA cycle. Consider the following when drawing up the Request for Information:
- Does the software offer a tool in which all areas for improvement can be recorded in order to achieve structure, transparency and coherence?
- Can areas for improvement be allocated to an owner?
- Is it possible to incorporate action plans, activities and monitoring of progress in the software?
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.
Here you can read part 2 of this blog, which talks about implementation and technical necessities.
Wendy Rientjes, 2019