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Improvement of quality health in organization is a course that must be undertaken daily by any hospital organization in order to ensure efficiency and affectivity in the health care organization. In assessing the quality of this improvement, process and outcome measures are performance indicators that are widely used. This paper seeks to discuss these two indicators showing their advantages and disadvantages.
Process and Outcome Measures of Quality in Healthcare Organizations
Improvement of quality healthcare in an organization is quite essential due to the benefits accrued. There are three types of measures used to assess quality work improvement in healthcare. These are structure, process and outcome measures. According to Goddard et al (2012), process measures indicate whether a specific health service is provided to a patient with a defined condition. It basically assesses the health service provided. On the other hand they note that the outcome measure is the assessment of the impact of the heath service administered to a patient. It is an accumulative reflection of the multiple factors that would have a resultant effect on health. The aim of this paper is to provide an analysis of process and outcome measure of quality and their advantages and disadvantages in the provision of healthcare services.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Process Measure
According to Chassin, et al (2010), process measure is an example of the commonly used quality measures. As one of the many existing quality measure, process measure provides an indicator of what the hospital is doing to improve on the conditions of their clients. As a standard tool of measurement, process measures do follow recommended clinical practices which are numerically measured mostly in terms of percentages. This makes it applicable in most cases. Chassin, et al (2010) also notes that process measures are also helpful to the clients in that it helps those in healthcare to anticipate a given service in a particular condition and thus contribute immensely to the improvement of health outcomes.
Similarly, Chassin, et al. (2010) notes that process measure encompasses a number of processes from technical processes within the healthcare unit to interpersonal processes. Thus it helps in capturing a wide range of data that is vital to the improvement of service delivery in hospitals. Finally, Chassin, et al. (2010) argue that studies have shown that the number of patients whose conditions improve after the introduction of quality measures like the process and outcome has increased tremendously (Chassin, et al., 2010). Additionally, Chassin, et al. (2010) note that with process measures it is easy to interpret the data captured. This is because it is a direct measure of quality. This is in contrast to outcome process which is an indirect measurement deriving its data from the result of an action.
In summary, process measures can be based on scientific facts and are thus easy to measure and compare. Additionally, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2001) notes that process measures are within the control of the physician. Being specific, process measure also allows the identification of particular areas that require improvement. Moreover, the desire to know the speed of access and patient experience makes the process measure is highly valued by patients. However, it is limited in a number of ways. For example, it lacks scientific evidence. In fact, only about a fraction of process measure has evidence. It therefore mainly depends on physicians’ judgment and this limits its usefulness.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Outcome Measures
As a way of improving the services given to patients by healthcare facilities, it is important to have a routinely evaluation of the impact of treatment on patients overall wellbeing. Outcome measures enable healthcare units to assess their actions on the health care services (Hermann, Leff & Lagodmos, 2002). Outcome measures also allow the healthcare organizations to have statistics on the health status of patients after treatment. These statistics can be in terms of the percentage number of patients who fully recovered from their illness after treatment against those who died or developed complications after treatments actions like surgery. Such records are instrumental in the general assessment of the progress of the facility. Moreover, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2001) indicates that outcome measure can provide an ultimate tool for measuring client satisfaction in health care units.
On the other hand, Hermann, Leff & Lagodmos (2002) observe that as a measure of quality, outcome process ensures that several factors are analyzed. The analysis involves data on symptoms, functioning, quality of life, satisfaction and cost-effectiveness. They further note that the requirement that the factors selected for analysis in an outcome process must concurs with certain quantifiable objects gives reliability to the healthcare.
Furthermore, outcome process allows the reflection of all aspects involved in the process health care service and not those that are only measurable. For example, outcome process includes the analysis of the technical expertise of the health service providers and operator skills which cannot be captured as performance indicators. Moreover data required in outcome process is easily available as it is captured in the daily recordings of the institutions which make it easier to implement. According to Pennysylivia Healthcare Quality Alliance (2008), outcome measures are always in long term nature and therefore encourage health promotion in the long term probably by adaptation of technology.
However, the measure is not without its disadvantages because of its high characterization of patients mix up. This results from the fact that numerous factors are involved in assembling an outcome process conclusion some of which are beyond the control of the health facility. For instance,Hermann, Leff & Lagodmos (2002) noted that the healthcare unit may not control the risks that their clients are exposed to prior to attending a treatment session. This is even more difficult for risks occurring after the session. Such factors influence the conclusion made in the outcome analysis and thus compromises the accuracy of the result or undermine the efforts of a health facility.
In conclusion, process and outcome measures of quality are recent models of ensuring quality services in health care units. So far studies indicate that these models have contributed largely on the quality of services in health care facilities. Despite the disadvantages, process and outcome measures are important quality indicators.