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Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare
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Article citation: Kay Downey-Ennis, (2008) "Editorial", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 Iss: 6, pp. -
Paying attention to patient quality and safety is equally as important for healthcare organisations as is the financial balance sheet. The evidence within this issues indicates that there is a strong focus on implementing many quality initiatives and will give the reader insights into how these different approaches have been pursued and implemented within many differing healthcare settings.
The first paper in this issue looks at six sigma which is a methodology gaining much impetus within healthcare organisations internationally as an improvement methodology. The methodology was born from the now renowned Toyota Production Systems. Feng et al. undertook a national survey of six sigma programs in US healthcare organisations. The results show that six sigma is in an embryonic stage with just 27 percent (15/56) organisations having formally implemented six sigma, and 11 percent (6/56) currently considering if they will adopt such a program. Of the programs being implemented they are less than four years duration and of interest successful programs all cited the importance of full management commitment. Despite the embryonic stage Feng et al. conclude that their findings reinforce that six sigma can be applied in many different departments and areas within a healthcare organisation.
Papaniku and Ntani’s research contributed to patient satisfaction research through the measurement of patient satisfaction of patients hospitalized in public Greek hospitals. This study yielded a very high-response rate but results indicated that patients reported long waits to be admitted for treatment. Patients reported that lack of staff was the main problem with hospitals with many patients indicating that they gave extra money to the medical staff as recognition for the care offered. Despite this, the overall satisfaction was very high with an interesting finding being that patients found that personal nurses and relatives fill the gaps of the nursing staff shortage in the hospitals.
Mehrabi et al. paper presents the findings of a study to assess customer focus level following implementation of quality improvement model in social security hospitals in Tehran province. They conclude that by the adoption of such a model gives many possibilities to improve customer focus levels within such a setting as the levels of score of customer knowledge was in fact relatively high.
Sutherland and Dodd explored the effect of a clinical leadership program on senior clinicians within an NHS Trust with the aim of ascertain the impact of the specific skills developed as a result of undertaking the program on clinical practice. Their findings suggest that there is evidence of change in the participant’s attitude, behavior and performance. Both role play and enquiry-based learning approaches were deemed critical in achieving such change.
The utilization of user evaluation consultation was examined by Gwilym Siôn ap Gruffudd’s as adopted by the Welsh Air Ambulance (WAA) within a policy context, the study evaluated the efficacy, impact the service had on users and how the service impacted on land fleet and co-working partnerships. The author concluded that a high percentage of the sample studied indicated that were satisfied with the WAA dispatch policy culminating in the author arguing that there was no perceived need or benefit to further development of policy or local agreements.
The paper by Diex-Pinol et al. looks at the concept of quality of work life in general and wellness promotion, in particular they examined burnout and vigour in respect of physicians in healthcare settings. Their findings gives the reader a model and a procedure for identifying those configurations of factors that indicate either an increased risk for burnout or protective mechanisms that promote vigor.
Finally, Phaswana-Mafuya et al. researched the role of non profit making organisations in filling possible gaps in primary health care services in South Africa. The research indicated that several service gaps were identified across all districts and included understaffing/lack of capacity, difficulty in retaining and recruiting staff, service disparities, inaccessibility of services/low-service utilization and limited funding all of which affected the delivery of PHC services. The authors concluded that the districts generally believed that NPO’s could in fact fill the service gaps identified and that they had a critical role to play in the overall service delivery.Kay Downey-Ennis