Applying Deming’s 14 Points to the Healthcare Industry – Part 2 of 4

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Building on the foundation laid by the first three principles, we move on to principles 4-7 of Deming's 14 points. These principles offer further guidance on enhancing quality in healthcare.

4. End the Practice of Awarding Business on the Basis of Price Tag Alone

While cost efficiency is vital, Deming argues that quality should never be sacrificed for cost. In healthcare, this principle underscores the importance of making procurement decisions based not only on price but also on quality and reliability.

For example, when selecting suppliers for medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, or technology solutions, healthcare providers should consider factors such as the supplier's quality standards, reliability, and service alongside cost. This could help prevent issues like equipment malfunctions or supply shortages that could potentially compromise patient care.

5. Improve Constantly and Forever the System of Production and Service

Continuous improvement is a crucial tenet of Deming's philosophy. In a healthcare setting, this implies regularly assessing and improving all processes related to patient care and service.

Healthcare organizations could conduct regular audits, collect patient feedback, and implement quality improvement projects. Technologies like electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine can be continuously refined to improve patient care and service.

6. Institute Training on the Job

Training is crucial to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide the highest quality of care. Deming's sixth principle emphasizes on-the-job training, which for healthcare would mean continuous clinical education and hands-on training.

Simulation training for emergencies, regular workshops to update medical knowledge, and training on using new healthcare technologies could be part of this. Training should also include non-clinical staff who play crucial roles in patient service and satisfaction.

7. Institute Leadership

Leadership plays a vital role in quality improvement. In healthcare, leaders should guide their teams toward a common goal of providing quality patient care.

Healthcare leaders should create an environment encouraging teamwork, learning, and innovation. They need to communicate the vision, support their teams, and lead by example in adhering to quality standards.

In conclusion, Deming's principles 4-7 emphasize valuing quality over cost, fostering continuous improvement, training healthcare professionals effectively, and instituting strong leadership. These principles further refine our approach to enhancing healthcare quality.

Join us for the next part of this series, where we continue our exploration of Deming's principles in the healthcare context.

This post is the second in a series of four on applying Deming's 14 points in the healthcare industry.

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