The cornerstone of effective orthopedic surgery is quality of service. Amongst high-income countries, one in ten patients is harmed while receiving care in hospital. Poor service like this can impact patient outcomes, satisfaction, retention, acquisition, and the ROI of your practice. Conversely, improving your quality of service can help your orthopedic practice grow and thrive. That’s why learning how to measure quality and act on that data is essential.
- Quality of service is composed of safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, equity, and integration.
- Quality measures fall into four main categories: structural, process, outcome, and patient experience.
- The insight you gain from quality measures can be used to guide your improvement initiatives.
How is Quality of Service Defined and Measured in Orthopedics?
It’s essential to understand how quality is defined and measured before you can improve upon the quality of service you offer your patients.
The six core dimensions of quality service outlined by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) are:
- Safety – first, do no harm
- Effectiveness – the accuracy of the diagnosis and effect of the treatment
- Patient-Centeredness – tailoring the care plan to each patient
- Timeliness – providing treatment with minimal wait
- Efficiency – giving patients what they need without waste
- Equity – making care available regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, etc.
Quality measures assess these core aspects and fall into four different categories. These measures help provide you with insights into the services you provide from various perspectives and together give you a comprehensive assessment of how much value you are providing to patients.
Your surgery practice and the resources it contains are an integral component of the service you provide. Structural measures focus on this setting and can include assessing the number of staff, the staff’s knowledge and capabilities, and the resources and equipment you have available (from basics like the number of beds to more advanced technology like remote video auditing).
Process measures assess the consistency of care you provide to patients, including following standards and guidelines set out by institutions like the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. This could include evaluating and comparing the care given to all patients suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, for example. Consistency is closely linked to reliability and can significantly impact your surgery’s reputation.
Health outcomes are a central and critical component to evaluate. These measures can include mortality, morbidity, complications during or after surgery, pain, recovery time, and the patients’ overall quality of life.
Patient Experience Measures
A patient’s perception of the care they received is a vital aspect of your practice’s quality of service and can significantly impact patient retention, reviews, and referrals. Patient experience measures focus on the interpersonal aspect of the healthcare journey and are often gathered directly from patients via feedback surveys.
Using Quality Measures to Improve Service in Your Orthopedic Practice
The information you collect using the quality measures above can guide your attention and resources as you strive to improve your quality of service.
Every practice is unique in the challenges it faces, the needs of its community, and the strengths and weaknesses of its resources. As you construct your improvement plan, here are two strategies to consider that any practice can benefit from, whether you aim to improve your structure, process, outcome, patient experience, or all four quality measures:
1. Go Online for Seamless Pre-Op Prep
Patients increasingly expect comprehensive digital resources in every sector, and healthcare is no different. Is your current pre-op prep being done in the most convenient, efficient, and modern way? If not, you should consider creating an online patient portal.
Patient portals seamlessly integrate electronic health records, scheduling, billing, and other non-medical tasks to ensure patients can complete all their paperwork in one place, online and at their convenience.
Handling your pre-op paperwork and other preparation via an online patient portal has a host of benefits, including:
- Providing convenience for patients
- Collecting a comprehensive patient medical history
- Reducing the time needed to manually input information
- Facilitating improved sharing of information between teams and facilities
- Allowing additional time to anticipate and mitigate possible complications based on the information provided
- Creating a seamless process on the day of operation
Implementing a quality patient portal is beneficial for every aspect of your practice:
- Structure: a patient portal is a valuable resource for your practice.
- Process: the integrated nature of a portal improves the efficiency of many processes, from completing pre-op paperwork to sending appointment reminders.
- Outcome: Your patient portal can improve health outcomes by facilitating patient engagement.
- Patient experience: the convenience of a patient portal dramatically improves every part of the patient journey.
2. Collect More Actionable Feedback
The quality of the feedback you collect directly impacts how much you can do with it. That’s why Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROMs) are valuable data that you should be leveraging to help guide your practice in the best direction for your patients.
PROMs are a cornerstone of patient-centered care. They can be collected quickly and easily via surveys or questionaries integrated into your patient portal.
Collecting effective patient feedback can improve your practice across all areas:
- Structure: consistently gathering patient feedback allows you to direct your resources in the most effective way for your community.
- Process: having a built-in feedback system ensures that your practice continually responds to patients, improves, and grows.
- Outcome: it’s only possible to improve long-term health outcomes when you consciously follow up with patients.
- Patient experience: asking for their feedback shows patients that you care about their experience and are dedicated to their health in the long term.
To Improve Your Surgery, Quality of Service is Key
Improving the quality of service in your orthopedic surgery practice is the key to patient retention, acquisition, and ongoing growth. That’s why it’s so important to choose solutions that not only meet your patient’s needs, but exceed them. Wellbe’s ConnectedCare is a flexible care automated solution that can grow with your practice and deliver remarkable outcomes.
Talk to a Solutions Specialist today to find out how Wellbe can improve your quality of service.