Quality is a word that few practices, GPs and practice staff can hope to escape from these days with the health system being introduced to new standards and HIQA’s regulation of Primary Care.
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a philosophy that enables the management of people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction. It has been used widely in industry to deliver huge benefits in customer service, efficiency and cost reductions. Its implementation within a healthcare environment can deliver quantum levels in improvement to healthcare service delivery.
We have adopted TQM to focus on the delivery of effective, high quality and efficient primary care services. For general practice this means:
As an example, through the adoption of TQM methodologies and techniques we have redefined Diabetic patient pathways leading to a 100% increase in patient appointments; refined patient access ( appointments ) system leading to > 15% increase in patient appointments ; reduced staff costs by > 10%. These improvements were all achieved at zero or with minimal incremental cost to the practice. Patient participation groups have given feedback positively praising the implemented changes.
TQM can fundamentally improve how a practice operates leading to improved patient care and service, a more efficiently operating practice, improved staff involvement and reduced burden on the GPs.
Dr Jack Nagle, CEO, Alpha Healthcare Ltd.