5 Tips for Creating a Culture of Quality Improvement

April 6, 2018

Accreditation is an ongoing process of assessing health and social services organizations against standards of excellence to identify what is being done well and what needs to improve.

Accreditation involves all members of your organization, from your Board of Directors to frontline staff as well as members of the community, including clients (patients and families). The accreditation process culminates in the accreditation survey, which measures how your organization meets world-class standards related to patient safety and care.

But how do you establish a culture of quality improvement that lasts well beyond your accreditation survey? We’ve put together a few tips:

1. Create a culture of no blame:Hospital Surgeon and Staff Members

Support your staff in bringing mistakes and near misses to light.

Your staff should feel comfortable and should be encouraged to share this information, as these are the incidents upon which better processes are based.

If staff members are afraid to come forward and incidents are hidden, there can be no learning from them. Quality and safety within the organization then suffers, as no processes have been put in place to ensure that the incidents don’t happen again.

Ensure that your staff feels enabled and comfortable in sharing all necessary information – whether good or bad.

2. Constantly focus on getting better:

Ensure staff members understand that quality improvement is an ongoing process that reaches well beyond the accreditation survey.

Staff should be engaged and encouraged to provide the best possible care at all times.

Ensure that staff efforts are recognized. For example, set up a board in a public location at your facility where you can share photos and anecdotes, and highlight staff members whose efforts are key to the success of your accreditation process. If you want, you can take staff recognition a step further by creating accreditation-related awards or by giving out prizes.

3. Transparency within and outside of the organization:

Be transparent and share information with your staff and community. Celebrate your wins, but also share your lessons learned.

As quality improvement is on ongoing process, it’s important for staff and the community to know when and how progress is being made.

Work to share important information through communications such as newsletters, press releases or on your social media platforms, so everyone can be kept up to date.

These types of communications are also a good way to create awareness about the accreditation process and your quality improvement efforts.

4. Listen to coworkers and clients:

Patient Partner

Accreditation Canada & HSO CEO Leslee Thompson with Patient Partner and Surveyor Mario Di Carlo.

For each of these groups – coworkers as well as clients (patients and families) – ensure that there are opportunities to provide feedback and/or bring any issues to light.

An easy way to collect feedback from coworkers is to hold regular staff meetings, in which staff members are encouraged to share accomplishments and/or any difficulties they may be facing. Keep these meetings casual, so that people feel comfortable and encouraged to share any useful information.

There are many ways to gain valuable insight from clients, including suggestion boxes and surveys. The key is to make it as easy as possible for clients to provide valuable insight about their experience at your organization.

Clients are the direct recipients of the care you are providing. They are one of the best sources of information to know what you are doing well and where you need to improve.

5. Be respectful:

Being respectful of everyone’s needs and values allows better collaboration to occur.

Everyone has their own values, beliefs and cultural identity. When each person – staff member, patient or family member – feels respected, it enables an easier exchange of information, which leads to better collaboration among staff members as well as among staff members and clients.

Respect creates more open communication, leading to safe and better quality care.

Want more useful information about how to be successful in your accreditation process? Discover 5 Keys to Accreditation Success.