"Using Process Maps for Quality Assessment and Improvement" is a wonderful example of a paper on the health system. Tracking processes and activities relating to care delivery is imperative for the attainment of intended outcomes in healthcare. It is the obligation of health care managers to evaluate these processes in order to identify problem areas and subsequently formulate and implement action plans to effectively improve quality. These processes can be tracked using a process map. This paper elucidates how using a process map could inform and facilitate quality assessment and improvement, including data collection efforts relating to prolonged clinic wait times. How process mapping informs and facilitates quality assessment and improvement According to Ford, Wise, and Wisdom (2010), process mapping "Is a quality improvement tool used to understand and improve processes, time frames, and resource allocation" (p.
123). To achieve this, a process map presents or exhibits all the steps in conducting an action methodically, and also indicates who executes each step, the location, and the method of execution (Ford, Wise, and Wisdom, 2010). In reference to prolonged clinic wait times, a process map therefore will show each step involved in reducing wait times in relation to the implemented action plans, who executes each step, the department or unit the action is executed, and how the process is performed.
In doing so, the process map makes an assessment of areas or processes causing impediments, hurdles, or blunders possible. In addition, a process map allows the identification of processes that lead to improvements devoid of interruption of the organizational culture (Ford, Wise, and Wisdom, 2010). Thus, productive processes that result in reduced clinic wait times are adopted while unproductive processes are dropped. Process maps as stipulated by Ford, Wise, and Wisdom (2010) are also used to scrutinize the flow of data and information within an organization.
Process mapping also entails making out and classifying various categories of data and illustrating how data and information are propagated within the organization. Ford, Wise, and Wisdom (2010) additionally state that process maps link or affixes the flow of data and information within care practices and subdivides universal procedures into objectives relating to how patients move within the organization. Comprehension of these procedures can facilitate quality assessment and improvement by underscoring sections within the organization or clinic clients and information bump into impediments (Ford, Wise, and Wisdom, 2010). Through a process map, wastes can be identified and eliminated (Cookson et al, 2011).
Wastes, in regard to clinic wait times, denotes all unnecessary activities that could potentially prolong waiting times but could be eliminated from the process. Since a process map is displayed openly within the organization, all individuals involved in care delivery including physicians, nurses, and support staff are presented with a chance to give their contributions relating to how processes could be improved.
Therefore, all processes are analyzed and stakeholders' contributions considered in a bid to improve the quality of services. The key for quality improvement is ensuring all individuals involved in health care delivery understand how all processes fit together. According to the Health Foundation (2009), a process map serves this purpose. In conclusion, a process map allows for the assessment of health care practices or processes with an intention of identifying hurdles and other problem areas. In doing, impediments can be avoided or action plans implemented o address them.
A process map also allows the identification of wastes. In other words, unnecessary steps that could potentially improve costs and conversely prolong clinic wait times are identified and eliminated hence leading to improvement of quality.
Cookson, D., Read, C., Mukherjee, P., & Cooke, M. (2011). Improving the quality of emergency department care by removing waste using Lean Value Stream mapping. International Journal of Clinical Leadership, 17(1), 25–30.
Ford, J. H., Wise, M., & Wisdom, J. P. (2010). A peek inside the box: How information flows through substance abuse treatment agencies. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 28(3), 121–143.
The Health Foundation. (2009). Quality Improvement Made Simple: What Every Board Should Know About Healthcare Quality Improvement. Retrieved from http://www.health.org.uk/public/cms/75/76/313/594/Quality_improvement_made_simple.pdf?realName=uDCzzh.pdf