MEDx : If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it
Do you know that there is not even one defined standard procedure to measure and monitor performance of hospitals in Africa? There are several of such documents for Europe and other continents. There are however an example of the standard for monitoring hospital performance for South Africa (1) but this report is covered by standards of European Countries like Netherlands, UK and others. However there is a national system for monitoring hospital performance for Ethiopia (2), Zambia covered by the BMC Health Services Research (2) but implementation practice and guide is not a part of this.
It is like a normal standard in Hospitals in Africa to forget about the outcome of patient’s state after their experience at the hospital and sadly this is becoming a culture and normality even though millions are dying with the continuous increase in death Rate.
It is not that actions have not be taken to research this topic but the results of these researches have not been implemented at the center where the care journey begins.‘’Monitoring the quality of hospital is a means towards the goal of achieving better health outcomes and reporting the results to respective hospitals is very critical and stimulates a push for quality improvement’’(3)
MEDx is striving to get past measurement thus its believe on ‘’measuring it is not the end of the journey but just the beginning of the next step’’.
MEDx Care believes measurement is core to the concept of hospital quality improvement. Measurement or evaluation in terms of hospital quality provides a means to define what hospitals actually do, and to compare that with the expected targets (performance) in order to identify opportunities for improvement. MEDx Care is a digital hospital for emerging countries and with Africa being a very important part of this target countries, it is focusing on its hospitals to improve Patient Care experience.
MEDx Care is trying to plant a culture of continuous improvement in this part of the world through its Quality Experts who are giants in this field and have provided a breakdown of the processes (which can be customised according to any given hospital) involved in the quality improvement journey.
So MEDx Care has taken the first step for these hospitals in putting together a quality standard must-haves for Healthcare, for easy and swift pre-evaluation of its hospital or medical facility (5).
Quality Standards for healthcare
Although some individual countries offer definitions for standards of quality health care, there appears to be no universal definition for international quality standards.
Quality standards for health care can be considered the metric against which the performance of services can be measured, which may be either “essential’’ in the absolute minimum to ensure safe and effective practice. Or “developmental’’ designed to encourage and support a move to better practice. Thus, establishing a framework for essential international quality standard would provide a benchmark against which to measure all healthcare services involved in the Quality Improvement (QI) vision of MEDx Care for hospitals in Africa.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) offers a comprehensive framework for the promotion of quality dimensions, which is based on findings by the Health Care Quality Indicators Project, and enables measurement, comparison and achievement of uniformity on a national level.
There are however a number of limitation regarding the applicability of these existing guidelines within the public and private healthcare sector, particularly when it comes to global medical standard.
The international guideline should be reinforced by legislation and therefore health care providers are required to facilitate these standards in practice.The guidelines should also provide comprehensive instruction on how to implement, monitor or supervise the standards.
‘’Why do individuals travel for care?’’
Quality of care, cost and access to care are among the key driving factors that influence a patient’s decision to go in the search for a better hospital or medical facility. MEDx Care has as its mission to make these hospitals the place to feel and get cared for, so every hospital Manager or Director that is looking for growing its client base should be on a continuous improvement mindset.
- Hospital Quality Improvement: Measuring and reporting quality by WHO South Africa.
- ‘’Monitoring hospital performance: the challenge in service delivery in Ethiopian Hospitals’’ by Research Gate.
- ‘’Investigating health system performance: An application of data envelopment analysis to Zambian hospitals’’ by BMC Health Services Research.
- ‘’Patient satisfaction with services in outpatient clinics at Mulago hospital, Uganda’’ by Oxford Academic published the International Journal for Healthcare.
- ‘’Factors influencing healthcare service quality ‘’ by Ali Mohammad Mosadeghrad
Written by Brenda Achere, African Hospitals/Labs Engagement Manager @ MEDx.Care & Merime Fodjo, Healthcare Quality Expert @MEDx.Care