Are you confident that your staff, products and services are up to the mark, and what are you doing to ensure that in terms of risk management your company have prepared not only for today but also for a very competitive future?
As the NHS (National Health Service) and health care in general has become more sophisticated, business systems to measure and evaluate performance have become part of everyday life. But how far will the health service go with the performance management process in order to improve practice and outcomes?
May I suggest to you that everyone who contributes to the effective outcome of patient care will eventually be performance managed by the NHS.
So what is a performance standard? It’s a standard that is a written statement that explicitly outlines how a job should be performed. For the health care industry this is often detailed in tender documents or identified within national policies where standards are outlined, and who knows in the future it could be integrated into current NHS performance management systems as part of a more robust clinical governance infrastructure. The performance standard is a useful benchmark that can be used as a learning tool to evaluate outcomes. It’s a performance indicator that will provide information on whether an individual or company is meeting or exceeding the expectations of their role.
For effective communication, performance management processes should be written in plain English, with a focus on the minimum competencies and outcomes that will be measured. The standards should be for the job not the specific person undertaking the job, and should be reasonable and appropriate.
The standard should describe the expectations and have a built in mechanism for acceptability of errors. This needs serious consideration in terms of clinical risk management as some standards will be acceptable and allow for a margin of error whereas others relating to clinical practice may not. The following are the current aspects that the NHS has to consider when writing standards:
- Relate the neccessary standards to specific job requirements
- Include a reporting system that can measure relevant quantative data
- Concentrate on qualitative aspects of a job to ensure you describe clearly the specific characteristics required that can be verified
- Include links to organisation objectives in order to ensure that the corporate agenda is achieved
Currently Global Healthcare Standards Institute are working with North East and North West London Strategic Health Authorities to specifically address recurring issues that have been flagged up by clinical incident reporting undertaken by national audit departments. The aims identified include:
- Product knowledge and evidence of competence
- Awareness of national legislation and policies
- Understanding of the NHS and its issues
- Patient focused
- Willing to establish long term partnerships for product developments
- Awareness of infection control and decontamination (especially MRSA)
- Effective communicator
- Responsive trainer and educator
- Honest and reliable (Transparency)
- Good interpersonal skills
- Awareness of risk management
- Team player
- Have the authority to be flexible with the account management
- Up to date on the current research and best practice
- Aware of hospital etiquette
- Maintains confidentiality
- Consistent and committed
When asked their expectations of the companies, they confirmed that the following would be their priority areas:
- Medical equipment purchased must comply to relevant safety requirements
- All equipment must be subjected to appropriate risk assessment
- Equipment to be fully supported by the manufacturer
- Equipment must be fit for purpose and aid effective patient outcomes
- Full service manual available
- Effective cleaning and decontamination processes
- Effective user training
- Maintenance costs explicit
- Track and traceability always adhered to
- Customer service and other support requirements met
- Financial aspects met supporting appropriate use of resources
- Effective and reliable Incident reporting
So whether my prediction of performance management becomes a reality or not there is no doubt that national standards will tighten up to protect patients, staff and visitors to healthcare settings. Are you confident that your staff, products and services are up to the mark, and what are you doing to ensure that in terms of risk management your company have prepared not only for today but also for a very competitive future?
RGN, CIM, DipN, MBA
If you have any views on this or would like to work with me on any of the areas identified in this article I would love to hear from you!E-mail me at: