3 steps to embed a culture of continuous improvement in healthcare
Around the globe, organisations are moving from improvement projects to improvement cultures. Rather than working one improvement project at a time, organisations are aiming to create a culture of continuous improvement, establishing a new way of working which engages frontline staff and embeds a scalable approach for growing and spreading impactful change.
In a time where healthcare providers are facing ongoing challenges with staff engagement, driving improvements forward and cost constraints, a culture of continuous improvement is a powerful tool for organisation-wide change. It empowers and engages healthcare staff, leading to increased staff satisfaction, an improved patient experience and better outcomes.
Building a continuous improvement culture is not a quick fix, but an ongoing journey requiring commitment and persistence. While everyone’s journey is going to look a little different, all will require putting an infrastructure in place to sustain continuous improvement efforts.
KPMG International created a report detailing how leading global healthcare organisations have successfully built and maintained a culture of continuous improvement, including 12 foundational truths for healthcare providers looking to launch, or sustain, their own continuous improvement efforts.
A few key takeaways from this report include:
Improvement is for everyone, every day
The report highlights the importance of an end-to-end management system that supports daily continuous improvement, rather than improvement being an ‘overlay’ or something just for the improvement team. Continuous improvement is an everyday occurrence so there must be a shift from seeing improvement as a project to improvement being a part of everyone’s daily work.
By being in everyone’s pocket, the ImproveWell solution makes it easy for the entire workforce to have the opportunity to improve every day.
Leaders must empower staff
Managing continuous improvement requires a different approach to work, as it transforms managers from firefighters into enablers. The continuous improvement approach should help guide staff to identify root causes of problems and develop new ideas themselves, rather than imposing solutions on them. Delegate opportunities for improvement to the frontline.
Through customisable improvement themes, the ImproveWell solution offers a simple way for leaders to encourage staff to identify relevant problems and solutions.
Demonstrate tangible changes
Continuous improvement isn’t just about improving the metrics, but about improving the work. To help support and sustain everyone’s efforts, it is important to make the improvement work tangible and visible as soon as possible. Celebrate ‘quick wins’ and demonstrate early impact to encourage ongoing engagement and remind staff of the impactful difference they are making for patients.
Share real-time updates and publish improvement reports directly through the ImproveWell platform to keep everyone informed and engaged.
This report has highlighted the successes and challenges leading organisations have had in embedding a culture of continuous improvement. They have demonstrated the importance of making improvement a part of everyone’s job, from the ward to the board, and their results show the high potential that a culture of continuous improvement has for healthcare. It requires planning, discipline and a strong commitment, but will ultimately benefit patients, clinicians and the wider population.
ImproveWell is a digital solution designed to foster a culture of continuous improvement. If you would like to find out more about how the platform could benefit your organisation, please get in touch.
Read the full KPMG International report about how leading global healthcare organisations have successfully built and maintained a culture of continuous improvement