Improving the Quality of Health Care

By Nancy Simon, CNO, Methodist Health System

The pressure to improve the quality of health care in this country has never been greater. Nurses are at the front line, and they often feel that pressure — striving to balance the needs of the patient with changes in the way care is delivered.

At Methodist Health System, we believe nurses are at the heart of our efforts to improve quality. We do our best to involve them in decisions that affect both the quality of care and the quality of the work environment. With several initiatives under way and new technologies to support them, nurses at Methodist are active participants in our quality improvement efforts.

Changing for the greater good. One of the ways we are improving quality is by driving
compliance with Joint Commission core measures. Pneumonia, for example, is one core
measure. When a patient is admitted with this condition, there are 10 proven therapies
such as providing smoking cessation education, giving vaccinations, and drawing blood
cultures prior to giving antibiotics. We have implemented a standard process in nursing
to improve performance, including daily monitoring and review of these therapies.

Higher tech for increased efficiency. Another quality initiative is the implementation
of new technology for computerized physician order entry, or CPOE. According to the
Institute of Medicine report in 2006 on Preventing Medication Errors, hospitals can
reduce the number of medication errors by implementing CPOE.

In our Emergency Departments, we’re implementing electronic documentation for
physicians and nurses in addition to CPOE. This technology can help reduce the
incidence of medication errors as well as errors in interpreting clinical documentation.
Eliminating the need for interpretation and transcribing orders is good for our physicians,
nurses, and most important, our patients. Overall, the more accurate and timely the
documentation, the greater the impact for improved quality care. That’s what these
initiatives are all about.

Giving nurses a voice. We listen to our nurses and involve them in decisions that
affect them and the care they provide. Nurses want to be heard and want to know that
their opinions and recommendations matter. They know what works and what doesn’t
work. They know what matters when it comes to improving patient care. We ask our
nurses, “How can we do this better?” They come up with solutions. They’re the ones with
the answers.

At Methodist Health System, nurses rise to the challenge of improving the quality of
health care. To join a team that encourages nurses to be part of the solution, visit us at

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

© Methodist Health System

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