Phyllis Wright-Slaughter

Phyllis is a Senior Data Architect working with the Michigan Value Collaborative.

Health care quality improvement and reducing episode costs for inpatient care are currently the focus of many state and national programs, including the MVC.  The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) conducted interviews with hospital executives in Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Seattle.  The focus of these interviews was the hospital’s quality improvement activities and the role of nurses in these activities.  Although the focus was on nurses and nursing teams, the comments and recommendations can be applied to other staff (Physician Champions, Pharmacists, Respiratory Therapists, etc.) who can affect the quality of care provided in a hospital – essentially everyone.

Here are the major points from this paper:

  1. Quality Improvement demands are increasing – true in 2008 when this article was written and even more so now. The roles on nurses and other staff also increase.
  2. Improving hospital quality requires a supportive hospital culture. Strategies that can lead to a supportive culture include:
    • active and supportive hospital leadership
    • active and ongoing staff engagement through setting expectations for staff and holding everyone accountable for individual roles
    • inspiring and using physicians and nurses to champion efforts
    • providing ongoing, visible and useful feedback
  3. It’s important to pinpoint challenges faced by the hospital, and be creative in addressing them. Challenges faced include:
    • Limited resources: engaging all staff and not just department leadership can help
    • Growing demands for data collection, and understanding how to use data to improve patient care
    • Reporting and tracking quality improvement activities
    • Need to improved training and education

With an integrative approach that includes all hospital staff, hospitals can meet the challenges and opportunities of improving quality and episode costs.  MVC is a proud partner of Michigan hospitals and excited to continue to support improvement efforts going on around the state.

 Reference: “The Role of Nurses in Hospital Quality Improvement”, HSC Research Brief No. 3, March 2008 ( )

See also this article in health affairs on the nurses roles  in improving hospital quality and efficiency.

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