Improve Patient Satisfaction with the Discharge Process
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Patient satisfaction is critical in every healthcare institution. Patients are satisfied when medical practitioners give them sufficient attention. In addition, patients are satisfied when they receive correct diagnosis in the course treatment. Hospitals should concentrate on the level of patients’ satisfaction with their discharge process. They become satisfied when their process of discharge is not long and cumbersome. One of the ways for the hospital staff to hasten the discharge process is to inform the family members of a discharge patient in order to ensure that the patient arrives home on time (Khurma, 2010). If the patient receives all the discharge documents on time, he/she will be able to fill them on time so that they can be filed before the actual discharge day. The hospital staff should also be well trained on conducting the discharge process at a fast rate and with minimum errors. ISO 9001: 2008 can help improve patient satisfaction during the discharge process.
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. It is mainly involved in the development of international standards. It was formed in the year 1946 after delegates met in the London Institute of Civil Engineers in an attempt of forming industrial standards that would help in ensuring international coordination. ISO unites many member states. Examples of countries that are members of this organization include Angola, the United States, France, Germany and Greece. The membership of ISO is grouped into three main categories. They include full members, correspondent members and subscriber members. Full members participate in the voting process during development of standards (Catska & Balzarova, 2008). In addition, they have to participate in policy and technical meetings of the ISO. Correspondent members only attend policy and ISO technical meetings as observers. Subscriber members do not participate in ISO policy and technical meetings.
ISO serves several purposes. One of its main functions is developing and publishing international standards. Before ISO develops or publishes any new standard, it has to seek opinions from experts regarding its reliability. The technical committee of ISO has the responsibility of providing expert opinion on the standards. It possesses diverse knowledge in the field of medicine, architecture, engineering and information systems. It helps in ensuring that systems standardization policies that help in securing global efficiency are formulated (Benner & Veloso, 2008). In addition, ISO considers the demands of consumers and other stakeholders so that it can develop standards that match their needs. This helps in ensuring that consumers receive quality services from the service providers. ISO sets up civil engineering standards. It helps in controlling that civil engineers build structures that are safe for human habitation. In addition, it sets up standards that all health care facilities have to fulfill while providing healthcare services to patients. This is a means of ensuring that patients get high quality medical care. All mining industries have to follow the standards that are established by the ISO. It helps in ascertaining that all the mining areas have safe working conditions. One of the key goals of this organization is maintaining occupational safety. This is the main reason for elaboration of more than 10,000 standards in the field of computer languages, personal safety, nuclear energy and ergonomics.
ISO 9001: 2008 mainly deals with the quality management systems of an organization. It establishes standards that help organizations focus on customers. These standards state that organizations should consider concentrating on the requirements of all consumers in an attempt of ensuring their overall satisfaction. They also state that enterprises should support quality policies in organization (Robitaille, 2010). Examples of tasks that an enterprise can engage in order to ensure that they support quality policies include reviewing quality policies and communicating quality policies to all its members. ISO 9001: 2008 also stress the importance of organizations controlling documents of quality management systems.
ISO vs. JCAHO
ISO has developed many standards that are used all over the globe. One of the standards that it has developed is ISO 9001: 2008. It mainly emphasizes how important it is for the management of organizations to commit itself to quality management. Top managers of organizations should consider involving themselves in the formulation of policies that help in the maximization of customers’ satisfaction. In addition, the top management team of every organization should always set quality objectives which help in ensuring that an organization emphasizes quality in all the activities that it conducts (Hoyle, 2012). Another way that management can emphasize service quality is by employing highly qualified employees. ISO 9001: 2008 also focuses on the importance of organizations providing resources that ensure that quality is maintained in all the processes that an enterprise conducts. Management should provide all employees with equipment that will help them perform jobs easily. Moreover, human resource managers should implement training and development programs that will help improve skills of employees. Training and development programs help employees conduct tasks with ease. In addition, they help in motivating employees since they can be certain that the management cares for their well-being.
ISO 9001: 2008 standard outlines the specifications that a company has to follow during product realization. Product realization covers such activities as product designing process, testing the designed products, shipping the designed products to consumers and handling produced products. Product realization stresses the importance of companies following all the customer’s specifications when they design a particular product. In addition, companies should also consider the complaints from consumers while designing a particular product. Considering consumer’s complaints helps companies improve the quality of their products. Testing of products is critical since it helps companies design goods that would function appropriately. In addition, a company is able to identify defects that may be present in a particular product before it is launched to the public. ISO 9001: 2008 standards also contain a section providing all the requirements for monitoring and measuring activities in an organization. The managementof an organization could consider conducting periodic internal audits in an attempt of monitoring the progress of activities within it. Audits help management define the departments that are not performing their duties well (Catska & Balzarova, 2008). In addition, audit reports give management ideas on how to improve defective processes that may be present in an organization.
ISO 9001: 2008 can help improve patients’ satisfaction during the discharge process since it concentrates on designing products according to the consumer’s specifications. In this way, a hospital is able to design the procedure for discharging patients that matches the needs of the latter (Clark, 2006). This standard focuses on the importance of considering the consumers’ complaints during service delivery. Management of a hospital is able to define some of the tasks that it does not perform well so that it is able to change them to ensure that they meet the needs of their patients (Hoyle, 2012). This standard also focuses on formulating objectives that ensure quality is maintained in a hospital. It helps in reducing cases of misdiagnoses. Readmission rates are reduced since doctors will have diagnosed the patients correctly.
ISO 14000 mainly deals with environment management systems. This standard argues that the top management team of all organizations should concentrate on formulating policies that ensure companies comply with all the environmental laws. Such policies will also help in ascertaining that companies support efforts of reducing environmental pollution. Companies follow ISO 14000 due to several reasons. It helps them minimize the amount of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. This helps in ensuring that companies minimize the amount of pollution that it causes to the environment. The standards outlined by ISO 14000 also help companies conserve the amount of energy that they use (Catska & Balzarova, 2008). They outline guidelines that companies could follow to reduce the amount of power that they waste. This will help in improving the image of a company. Consumers will view this company as socially responsible.
It also contains guidelines for environmental auditing. Environmental auditing helps companies identify and control environmental impacts of the products, activities and services that it conducts. These audits also help continuously improve the environmental performance of all its activities. If a company conducts environmental audits, it will reduce the risk of facing legal suits because of non-compliance with environmental laws. In addition, an enterprise will pay less insurance premiums since insurance companies will be willing to work with organizations that comply with all the environmental regulations. ISO 14040 deals with principles and guidelines that are used in life cycle assessment (Catska and Balzarova, 2008). ISO 14041 provides guidelines that are implemented during inventory analysis. ISO 14043 contains guidelines used for improving life cycle assessment.
JCAHO refers to the Joint commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The members of this association are mainly representatives of the private medical sector and are involved in the formulation of policies that ensure quality services are offered to all medical facilities. A board of about 28 members governs JCAHO. The members of this board present such professions as physicians, medical directors, health insurance administrators and health plan leaders and consumers. JCAHO has designed many standards. One of the standards that it has developed is a device for incident tracking and reporting systems. This standard mainly guides health care providers when they investigate and document unanticipated deaths and patient accidents. Biomedical Division of the JCAHO is responsible for investigating all the malfunctioning of equipment incidents (Hoying, 2005). JCAHO has also set standards that define how medical refrigerators should be maintained. They help in ascertaining that all the medical supplies are stored at optimum temperatures. All medical refrigerators should be maintained at a temperature of about 38 to 46 degrees Fanrenheight. All hospitals should also consider conducting penny and cup tests in order to ensure that they have optimum temperature control.
JCAHO has also set standards that aim at improving patient satisfaction during the discharge process. Conducting patient surveys helps in improving patient satisfaction. Surveys help hospitals define whether patients were satisfied with the quality of services that were offered to them (Hoying, 2005). In addition, it helps the hospitals determine how they can improve their services in order for them to meet all the needs of patients. In 2009, JCAHO launched a website known as www.qualitycheck.org that measures the quality of patient satisfaction after patients receive medical care. Patients are supposed to indicate whether the process of communicating with their doctors was successful. In addition, they need to specify whether the hospital staff was responsive to their claims. Patients are also supposed to assess whether the pain management system that the hospital utilized in the management of pain was successful. They also need to state whether the information that they were supposed to provide during the discharge process was useful.
Several differences exist between the ISO and JCAHO. ISO covers many fields compared to the JCAHO. ISO deals with setting standards for many industries. It sets up standards for civil engineering field and, in addition, for the photography field and designing of instruments (Hoyle, 2012). In contrast, JCAHO mainly sets standards that help in ensuring that the quality of medical care in health care institutions is high. Members of ISO include officials from many countries all over the globe. In contrast, members of JCAHO include doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners located in the United States. ISO states standards to be followed by organizations all over the globe. In contrast, JCAHO designs standards that are supposed to be followed by healthcare institutions in United States.
President Barack Obama signed the Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010. It was aimed at providing affordable health care to all Americans by reforming the health care system in the country. Obamacare is important since it helps in ensuring that all Americans are covered by the health care insurance industry. It helps in ascertaining that a patiient is not denied from discharge or treatment just because he/she does not have enough money to pay for the medical expenses (Pipes, 2010). It secures patients against unprecedented preventive care and protects them from not receiving medical coverage because of preexisting medical conditions. Obamacare contains Health Care for America Plan. This plan promises to cover 32 million Americans who are not under any insurance cover. It also states that from 2013, insurance companies will start competing through a health insurance exchange pool. It will help in reducing the amount of insurance premiums that patients have to pay before they receive any medical cover. Employers who pay for their employees insurance premiums will also benefit under the Obamacare. Employers with more than 25 or less employees will receive tax breaks of 35% to reduce the cost that they incurred while paying insurance premiums to their employees (Maglione, 2011). This law also provides patients with many options of purchasing medical insurance covers. If patients do not want to purchase insurance covers from the online health insurance exchange, they can opt purchasing it from private insurance firms or from the Medicaid. Obamacare also states that it aims at making 17 million Americans who are below the poverty line eligible to Medicaid.
Obamacare aims to improve patient satisfaction during discharge process. It plans to achieve it by fining hospitals that re-admit patients 30 days after they are discharged from hospital. Hospitals that re-admit patients at unreasonable rates will receive $ 280 million dollars as fines. According to statistics released by the federal government, about 2,200 hospitals in the United States will be charged $125,000 because of readmissions. 66% percent of these facilities are under the Medicaid program. The Obamacare states that these fines will increase by 2% in the fiscal year of 2014 and by 3 % in the fiscal year of 2015 (Morton, 2011). These fines aim at ensuring that doctors provide quality medical care to patients before they are discharged from hospitals. Hospitals will be forced to give extra attention to all the elderly patients. This is because these patients are more prone to readmission because they need close medical attention during their diagnosing and treatment. In addition, doctors will be forced to follow up patients after they are discharged from hospitals. It will help in ensuring that doctors keep track on the progress of their patients. However, critics say that these fines are not fair to low income hospitals. Such hospitals serve a great amount of patients seeking their services. Patients, therefore, need to be discharged so that hospitals get enough beds to admit other people.
Obamacare also contains hospital reimbursement plans. According to these plans, hospitals will be reimbursed according to the quality of medical care that they offer to seniors. This reimbursement plan was effected on October 1, 2012 and it states that Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by one percent. The money reduced from this reimbursement will be used to fund an incentive pool that rewards hospitals that have high scores in the value-based purchasing program. According to this plan, hospitals will be penalized by 1% in their Medicare if they readmit their patients 30 days after they discharge them from hospitals (Maglione, 2011). The main reason that motivated Midicare to introduce this plan was to try to reduce the number of patient readmissions in hospitals. This is because the number of heart attacks and serious health issues among senior patients has been increasing. Readmissions are common in hospitals since doctors fail to offer quality medical care to these patients when they are admitted on the first instance.
Financial analysts have estimated that the Obamacare will make the American government incur about $ 2 trillion dollars in the next 10 years. However, it will help the federal government save many funds. America has projected that the Obamacare will cut about $ 100 billion in United States budget deficit during the first ten years that it is under operation. In addition, it will also reduce over 1 trillion of the national deficits if it successfully implements the Obamacare (Pipes, 2010). The federal government has proposed several measures that have to be taken in order to raise finances to cover the Obamacare costs. One of the solutions that is offered is increasing the taxes paid by families and businesses by 2.9 percent. In addition, capital gains exceeding $250,000 will also be taxed in order to raise additional money to finance the Obamacare (Maglione, 2011). It will also reduce the amount of money given to the Medicare by $ 716 and increase the amount of funds given to the Medicaid by $ 716. The federal government has offered to increase several taxes in order to finance the Obamacare. Individual Mandate Tax is one of the taxes that will be increased. Couples will be required to pay a tax of about $ 1,360 each year or 2.5 % of their adjusted growth income. Americans will also have to pay for Health Savings Account Withdrawal Tax Hike. The taxes on this account will be increased from 10 percent to 20 percent during the beginning of 2013.
To conclude, ISO 9000: 2008 will help improve the level of patient satisfaction even after the Obamacare law is implemented in all healthcare institutions. The main aim of Obamacare is to ensure that most of the Americans receive health insurance cover. It will help them cover all their medical bills thus ascertaining that they get quality medical care. Obamacare will achieve patient satisfaction during the process of discharge since it will be fining all the hospitals that will readmit patients within 30 days. ISO 9000: 2008 will improve patient satisfaction during the discharge process since it emphasizes quality management in all the operations that a company conducts. Hospitals will, therefore, concentrate on offering high level of patient care. In addition, healthcare institutions will employ nurses and other healthcare practitioners that are highly qualified. The level of services that these practitioners offer will be high, therefore, it will be possible to avoid multiple cases of misdiagnoses or unanticipated deaths. These standards also concentrate on maximizing the quality of patient satisfaction. Before patients are discharged from health care facilities, they have to conduct a survey regarding the level of services that they were offered. Hospitals can, therefore, improve their services based on the results that they receive from these surveys.
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