8 Quality Improvement Lessons From Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente Northern California has learned many valuable lessons from its enhanced quality improvement efforts since 2005, according to a study in the Journal for Healthcare Quality.

In 2005, Kaiser Permanente Northern California developed the "four-wheel drive" framework of quality improvement, which relies on leadership alignment, standardization, project management and data. Through this approach, the system has achieved improvements in many areas, including patient falls, sepsis mortality, infection rates and surgical safety. These experiences taught the organization key factors for improvement and confirmed existing understanding about improvement efforts. Here are some of these lessons:

•    Leaders at all levels must prioritize performance improvement.
•    Leadership training should be provided.
•    Leadership teams should be stable and complete.
•    All stakeholders need to understand the current state of care's potential for harm.
•    Dedicated resources need to be invested.
•    Organizations should have clear and ambitious goals.
•    Performance data should be transparent.
•    Continued organizational energy is necessary for sustainable results.

More Articles on Quality Improvement:

Kaiser Permanente's 4-Wheel Drive Quality Improvement Model
Healthcare Quality: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?
John Dempsey Hospital Cuts All-Cause Heart Failure Readmissions 28%

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