HealthMarch 11, 2022

Are your QI workflows helping or hindering your project results?

As quality improvement projects are determined and prioritized, consider how a standardized workflow could make them better for clinical teams, departments, and the larger hospital or health system.

As you schedule your quality improvement (QI), evidence-based practice (EBP), and research projects in 2022, your department, hospital, or health system likely has a good idea of where improvements should be explored and implemented. Your QI director has a tiered list with the top projects that most closely align with your organizational goals or result in the most significant ROI. That list is fluid, with projects added throughout the year and some never getting off the ground.

Your primary objective is to generate impactful results from these projects. Many factors contribute to each project’s success: the team members and their enthusiasm for the project, the quality of the research they do, their ability to collaborate, how they evaluate and disseminate their findings. But the glue that can hold a project together, the foundation from which everything evolves, is the workflow. It’s time to look at your QI, EBP, and research project workflows, to determine if they’re making your projects efficient and effective or impeding desired results.

A different process flow for every QI project

QI methodologies such as Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC), Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA), and DMADV (Define-Measure-Analyze-Design Verify) outline project steps at a high level. The same can be said for EBP methodologies with Johns Hopkins, University of Iowa, and Joanna Briggs Institute models. In addition, many hospitals and health systems have developed templates to guide teams through a standardized process, while some have no consistent model at all.

Even with these methodologies, every process flow will be different, depending on the organization. For example, for some hospitals, Microsoft Word and Excel are essential tools for quality improvement projects. The most sophisticated institutions will have hundreds, if not thousands, of process maps to visually describe the information flow. But how much waste — in time, steps, resources, and touchpoints — are they actually eliminating?

Plus, if there’s a poor workflow or none at all, there’s a greater chance that a weak or incorrect intervention is identified and implemented, which is demoralizing for the team and ineffective for the institution.

Standardized workflows are the roadmap every QI project needs

Whether your project is conducted in a single unit and involves nursing EBP or a DMAIC effort across the entire organization, a standardized, systematic QI workflow is fundamental to a successful outcome. A standardized workflow provides direction that all participants can understand and follow, assuring that each step is thoroughly considered and completed. It also guides team members to address barriers, manage change, sustain momentum, and disseminate supported results.

Imagine what it would be like for every team member to be working off the same project documents in real-time — no waiting a week or two for another meeting? With everyone following the same workflow, contributing when they’re able to do so, teams can save as much as 30% of the time usually lost between discussions. In addition, every team member would have access to the same research, questions, appraisal, and conclusions. A consistent workflow eases the burden of project management with a single cohesive view, leading to more spirited inquiry.

How else can a standardized workflow propel your QI, EBP, and research projects?

  • It enables team members at all skill levels to comfortably participate and contribute
  • It eliminates silos of information by promoting easier team collaboration across shifts and departments
  • It helps team members align projects with the department’s or hospital’s strategic plan and goals

As your quality improvement projects line up for this year (and in the years to come), consider how a standardized workflow could make them better, with solutions like Ovid® Synthesis Clinical Evidence Manager, for your teams, departments, and hospital or health system. It may be just the differentiation you need to attract and keep the best employees and become a preferred facility for patients.

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Ovid® Synthesis Clinical Evidence Manager
A workflow management solution that organizes, standardizes, and accelerates quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and research projects across your institution.
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