What is “Quality” in Healthcare?

Quality is great; it is something we all want. But it can be challenging to describe. Many people simply think, “I’ll know it when I see it.” When it comes to our healthcare, we should strive for more.  We should work to define quality, to measure it and to always strive to improve.

The world of healthcare is in the midst of a revolution when it comes to understanding, defining and measuring quality. Three main categories of interest are:

  • Desired outcomes;
  • Patient satisfaction; and
  • Efficiency and efficacy of the service being delivered.

For older adults, one important quality measure is vaccination rates. Older adults are more susceptible to the illnesses like the flu than the general population and their infections can be more severe.

At InnovAge, we created an influenza vaccination program to get as many of our participants vaccinated as quickly as possible during flu season to stem any potential outbreaks. One issue we discovered was the difficulty of tracking those who had yet to receive the vaccine. To make it easier, and to focus the effort of staff, we created a live list showing exactly who needed to be reached. This is just one example of a “quality” project that led to more of our participants receiving the flu vaccine earlier in the flu season. It had the added benefit of saving valuable staff time.

We, like all healthcare providers, have many measurements of performance because, as has been said many times, “we can’t improve what we don’t measure.”

InnovAge is constantly learning and improving, and looking for ways to deliver better care for the people we serve.

Lisa PriceLisa Price, MD, Chief Quality Officer, InnovAge

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