Quality improvement (QI) involves the regular and constant actions that enable measurable improvement in health care. QI results in enhanced health services, organizational efficiency, quality and safe care to patients, and desired health outcomes for individuals and patient populations (U. S. Department of Health and Human Service, 2011). A successful quality improvement program is patient-centered, a collaboration of teams, and uses data in systems. QI helps to develop a culture of excellence in nursing, identify and prioritize areas of improvement, promote communication and collaboration, collect and analyze data, and encourage continuous evaluation of systems and processes (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2016).
The Role of Nurses in Quality Improvement
Nurses are critical professionals in quality improvement initiatives and activities. Organizational culture in hospitals and healthcare organizations are the basis of quality improvement. Nurses are at the center of a cultural shift for improvement of the quality of patient care, safety, satisfaction, and overall health outcomes. The US has had the challenge of nurse shortage for several years now, and with it, the healthcare system has encountered problems in reduced quality patient care and safety, and poorer health outcomes. Traditional nursing education and practice have also become limiting in as far as the current and constantly evolving nursing practice are concerned (Draper et al. 2008). As such, quality improvement initiatives are required in all areas of the healthcare spectrum, particularly in primary care provision.
Quality Improvement in Primary Care Services: Benefits
The target population for the patient-cent...
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..., and helps to reduce medical costs into the long-term. The role of nurses is central to quality improvement as they offer primary and patient-centered health care. Nurses can, therefore, provide valuable contributions in management and leadership of health care institutions and provide insights and ideas on how to improve clinical outcomes. In addition to the nurses, physicians, therapists, and other health professionals, have a critical role to play in enhancing primary and patient-centered care for the target population. Advanced training of nurses and an increase in the number of nurses in the hospitals are the recommendations made to achieve successful patient-centered care. Improvement can be seen through reduced hospital stays, fewer readmissions, and patient satisfaction. Continuous evaluation of the system is also required to measure progress and plan ahead.
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