HealthAugust 10, 2022

Does your quality improvement program lead to better outcomes and greater patient satisfaction? If not, it’s time to fix the disconnect.

While evidence-based practice (EBP) and quality improvement (QI) projects may be a requirement for many hospitals and health systems, they are hallmarks of organizations that strive for quality.

However, the results of these efforts may not justify the work they entail if they don’t lead to positive changes. Whether directly or indirectly, every EBP or QI project should contribute to improving care and fulfilling or exceeding your patients’ expectations. As a result, patients should be more satisfied - and likely share that satisfaction with others via reviews and word of mouth. But if your projects aren’t resulting in better outcomes, improved efficiencies, and higher marks from your patients, your organization’s reputation and even financial health may be at risk if patients and providers move to higher quality systems.

Your organization is rated and accredited based on achieving benchmarks for quality care and patient satisfaction. Quality is the fundamental element of your reputation.

Patient satisfaction is always top of mind — and you can easily see where you stand

What are the best ways for a hospital or health system to correlate the results of their EBP and QI projects with safer, more efficient care and positive patient feedback? One way is to review your performance ratings. Facilities use various existing resources to see how they’re performing, such as ratings from Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Care Compare, and Medicare Provider Data. In addition, many hospitals conduct their own patient satisfaction surveys and participate in others sponsored by private organizations. These surveys can generate a great deal of data about the highs and lows of your organization’s performance, including measurements that you can align with QI and EBP efforts.

What’s missing when EBP projects don’t lead to higher ratings?

Often, organizations don’t attack the most difficult questions within EBP projects because they may be complex, time-consuming, and perhaps controversial. But by investigating these tough questions and offering concrete recommendations for change, your projects can have the greatest impact on the care you provide and how it’s received.

There are numerous other reasons that EBP and QI projects don’t create needed changes or achieve their goals. Here are just some of them:

  • The EBP team puts in a great amount of effort, but it doesn’t receive sufficient support or resources from senior management or other departments.
  • The EBP or QI project goes well, but its results aren’t effectively communicated to all stakeholders and therefore never receives the necessary buy-in to generate change.
  • The EBP project is initiated purely due to a requirement, so the participants are not really engaged in achieving its goals.
  • The QI or EBP project topic has been studied multiple times, asking the same questions repeatedly, but never finalized into actionable interventions.

Find ways to better leverage your EBP successes … and watch your ratings go up

Commitment to strong and effective EBP, QI, and research programs must begin at the top of your organization and filter down through all departments. Your EBP teams should never feel like they’re toiling in a vacuum. So, what else can you do to help your projects positively influence your patients’ satisfaction?

  • Assign or recruit the right people for each EBP project, including a “champion” and give them sufficient support to undertake it — including resources, technology, tools, and dedicated time.
  • Invite top scholars to visit your facility so they can offer unique insights into projects that suit your organization.
  • Talk about the technology you’ve invested in, from ways to reduce patient wait time and streamline staff efforts to improvements in EBP and QI processes.
  • Promote research and publications by all your clinicians so staff and patients recognize your commitment to professionalism, innovation, and advancement.
  • Once project recommendations have been implemented, seek patient feedback and testimonials.
  • Make sure your “quest to be the best” is incorporated into all marketing and branding.

Increasing patient outcomes and satisfaction is a 24x7x365 commitment. When your EBP and QI teams can efficiently collaborate to complete projects, adequately demonstrate the results, and confidently recommend and implement practice changes to positively shape outcomes, they will grow more enthusiastic about these projects. And all of you will see the results reflected in the way patients rate your care and the ultimate return on your EBP investment.

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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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