Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

The Commentaries: A Summary

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

The Commentaries: A Summary

Article excerpt

IT SHOULD be clear after reading the lead articles by Ryan and Barton that quality can and should be a sustainable strategy for healthcare organizations. Both authors demonstrate that a combination of visionary leadership, conscious decision making to place quality at the center of the firm's culture, buy-in from multiple stakeholder groups, and the ready availability of real-time data is vital if meaningful quality improvement is to be achieved. The fact that three healthcare organizations in two years (SSM Health Care in 2002 and Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, and Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2003) were granted the Baldridge award speaks to healthcare's ability to create systemwide quality processes. However, this question remains: Why does something like quality, which seems so necessary and obvious, turn out to be so difficult to implement?

To help address this question and to provide their perspective on the lead articles, we have invited three well-known and well-respected persons to provide their commentary. Margaret O'Kane is president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance in Washington, DC. She makes the point that for quality to take hold, healthcare organizations should engage in a four-step process that includes transparency of performance for healthcare providers, a reimbursement system that rewards both efficiency and quality, a disciplined approach to deciding what medical procedures will be covered, and reduction in the overuse of services. O'Kane recognizes that these are highly political decisions, and she holds no false hope for their easy and early adoption.

The second commentary is written by Vinod K. Sahney, Ph.D. Sahney is senior vice president of planning and strategic development at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. …

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