A Culture of Quality

As a not-for-profit, healthcare organization, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. is committed to pursuing the highest level of quality in the care it provides to low-income, uninsured patients and clients. With a service area of 74 counties across South Texas, and multiple methods in which the organization accomplishes its mission of “Serving Humanity to Honor God,” ensuring that there is fingerprint of quality across the organization is a mission-critical responsibility. Below is a Q&A with Amanda Orahoske, quality assurance manager, that expounds upon Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ culture of quality.

What is Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Commitment to Quality, and why does that commitment matter to a healthcare organization?

Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Commitment to Quality is modeled after a very important publication by the Institute for Medicine, titled Crossing the Quality Chasm. Outlined within that publication are six key areas that healthcare organizations should focus on to close the gap in quality: Safety, Effectiveness, Patient-Centeredness, Timeliness, Efficiency and Equity. What we’ve done at Methodist Healthcare Ministries is develop a Commitment to Quality pledge that every employee signs upon joining the organization. We continuously reinforce that pledge through ongoing training, seminars, and by incorporating that commitment into our performance evaluation criteria.

As a not-for-profit healthcare organization, we focus on each of the key areas identified above as a way to help us provide better care for the patients and clients we serve. They direct us to realize our vision to be the leader for improving wellness of the least served. To that end, Methodist Healthcare Ministries became a Passport Member of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) earlier this year, which provides our team members with access to a wealth of training opportunities and resources that reinforce the importance of the six key quality focus areas.

How does Methodist Healthcare Ministries pursue and achieve its Commitment to Quality?

By constantly striving to move forward. For the past four years, we have slowly implemented a quality-based culture change that our team members know as “PDSA,” which stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act. PDSA comes from an Institute of Healthcare Improvement model called the Model for Improvement. Each year, Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ team members use personal improvement worksheets that follow the PDSA framework with the goal of improving the quality of their processes, and thereby improving the quality of the service we provide to low-income, uninsured families throughout South Texas.

Throughout this quality journey, the Quality and Business Intelligence team has also recognized the importance of obtaining professional certification through the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), as Certified Professionals in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). To that end, three of the members of our quality team have obtained their CPHQ certification: Dawn Wilder, our director of quality, safety & compliance; Amanda Orahoske, quality assurance manager; and Rosanna Vallin, quality assurance specialist.

By receiving this certification, our team has joined about 10,000 other CPHQs and, in the words of NAHQ, are deemed “healthcare quality professionals” that work in a healthcare setting to enhance care delivery, optimize value, and improve outcomes by leading activities in one or more of the following core quality functions:

  • Patient Safety
  • Regulatory and Accreditation
  • Quality Review and Accountability
  • Performance and Process Improvement
  • Health Data Analytics
  • Population Health and Care Transitions

How do you see Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ culture of quality growing?

The Quality and Business Intelligence team is using a four-tiered approach to evaluate where our organization and team members currently stand in becoming more quality-centric in our activities by measuring Exposure, Education, Engagement, and Empowerment. We actively review each of those measures and adjust activities to help everyone in the organization reach Empowerment, where they are actively taking quality-focused actions and using data to help improve their actions every day. At the Empowerement level, our employees are naturally saying “Let’s improve this” and asking “How can we measure what we did and the impact we made?”

We are also expanding our data analytics reach with the implementation of Tableau, an advanced data visualization software tool. Tableau helps us make more informed decisions and guides us on improvement projects throughout the organization. This software tool allows our leadership, providers, and staff clearly visualize data in a new way. This is an exciting time for Methodist Healthcare Ministries because not only will we be looking at patient outcomes, but also the upstream factors (social determinants of health and population health trends) that impact patient wellness. By instilling a culture of quality that constantly looks to make evidence-based decisions that improve quality standards across the organization, we are continuing to ensure that our patients receive the highest level of compassionate care when they turn to Methodist Healthcare Ministries.