What Are Quality Measures in Healthcare?
4 Performance Measures for Healthcare Providers
Research is imperative when designing and evaluating protocol in high-volume behavioral health settings. Operations must be outcome-oriented and consistent before they’re deemed worthy of long-term resources.
Procurement Specialists are responsible for the implementation of new techniques and strategies. This role must balance innovation with practicality, which is achievable through ongoing assessment of what works and what doesn’t. These proven tactics can measurably improve mechanisms within your own practice
1. Qualitative Health Research
Behavioral Health operators must negotiate the best possible rate for supplies, especially during trial runs. Before sourcing out tools and equipment, patient demand should be carefully evaluated.
Overly specialized resources may not pay off in the long-run. Certified quantitative tests like urine drug test cups, however, are applicable in virtually every setting. Dozens or hundreds can quickly fill in gaps in patient assessment.
New and existing workflow procedures demand ongoing evaluation. Certain tools may have a high defect rate, or supplier delivery is too sporadic for regular implementation.
2. Maintain Sample Integrity
Specimen analysis can be broken down into components that involve the collection, interpretation, and delivery of specimens. In order to maintain sample integrity, quality control measures need to be enforced at every stage (which also eliminates inconsistencies):
- Label and disclose
Identify as much information as possible on each specimen, e.g. donor name, provider information, type of test, etc. This eases communication between lab specialists while preventing misidentification of specimens.
- Consult inserts for CLIA Waived mechanisms
Training procedures are not required when using waived testing devices. However, it is paramount to visit product inserts to ensure quality control and honor expiration dates.
- Use closed systems whenever possible
Closed systems are used in many testing formats, like urinalysis. They eliminate environmental exposure, which reduces specimen contamination and improves quality control.
- Report false positives before a second test is ordered for MRO review
If confirmation testing is required upon obtaining false positive or negative results, the first step is to retain a portion of the sample. Confirmation tests must be factored into daily operating procedures to preserve cost and time effectiveness, so share preliminary results with the order source.
- Organize and preserve
Frequently reorganizing storage maximizes capacity and boosts productivity. Keeping a portion of a sample after a test is conducted provides insurance in case a test needs to be reanalyzed.
- Track specimen volume from each referral source
Record the volume of specimen analysis orders obtained from each client. This allows laboratories to manage their time and resources in advance based on average volume projections.
3. Periodic Logistics Reviews
Specimen leakage pours funding down the drain, literally. Protective measures against the elements are necessary when handling sensitive biological specimens.
Specimens need to be handled with care and precision. Behavioral health sites are responsible for overseeing proper specimen handling, storage, and delivery. Shipping synchronizes multiple providers operating from different facilities.
Unfortunately, the False Claims Act and other health mandates do not reimburse replacement tests as a result of specimen leakage or contamination during transport. Measures to mitigate this risk must be applied.
- Use Tape and Adhesives
Multiple couriers suggest using tape and other adhesives to seal containers holding biological specimens. However, this is only cost-effective in the short-term, as tape does not completely eliminate the threat of leakage. Improper removal of adhesives can also tear labels which document important information. Moreover, tape may attract contaminants that compromise the integrity of the test.
- Adopt Vacuum Transfer Systems
Instruments like VacuLid and other urine transfer systems are long-term risk mitigators and cost savers. This procedure draws specimens into a virtually impenetrable vacuette tube. When adopted in large-scale high-volume test settings, the threat of spills caused by shipping (and collection) is eliminated.
4. Improve Staff Engagement
Encouraging open communication between management and staff is the simplest, yet most productive way to streamline workflow. Providers and assistants need to be coachable and willing to adopt new protocol when necessary. Available resources need to empower technicians to carry out their duties with efficiency. Staff must be transparent in communicating issues with training or protocol.
Enforcing these techniques will uphold the credibility of your practice by preserving time and expenses. In a highly competitive industry, reliability and consistency separate good treatment centers from bad ones.
Download our complete guide, Drug Testing: Just What the Doctor Ordered, for the PDF version of this article and other resources to help you find success in the Behavioral Health Industry.