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Quality Assurance In Health Sector Of New Zealand

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Question:

Discuss about the Quality Assurance in Health Sector of New Zealand.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction: 

Health care is a profession related to life and death of millions of individuals, where a simple mistake can cost an innocent life. This noble profession provides the ill and the dying the care that can either eradicate their suffering of minimize it to some extent (Alkhenizan & Shaw, 2011). It is imperative that health care maintains the quality and standard of their treatment and care. With the new era of consumerism and cutthroat market consumerism the quality of health care has decreased drastically. However, with the regulatory provisions and legislations attempting to revitalize the health care quality and standards it has improved to some extent (Chassin et al., 2010). This report will attempt to highlight the importance of regulatory provisions and legislations in the quality assurance process taking the example of New Zealand.

Quality assurance in health care:

As mentioned above health care is critically associated with life and death situation, hence there never is a scope in health care to commit even a single misconduct. However, there are hundreds of workers associated within a health care facility and each of their efficacies and performance is associated with the same of the other. In the context of such interdisciplinary work, misconducts are very natural. This is where the concept of quality assurance and evaluation comes forward (Chassin et al., 2010).

The concept of health care quality check or accreditation came in the late 1990s and has been a boon to the growth and progress of health care sector ever since. In the current scenario there are numerous regulatory and monitoring authorities, be it state, national or global, keeping a watchful eye on every aspect of health care all around the world (Colbourn et al., 2013). The main goals of the quality assurance bodies is accreditation of each and every health and social care facilities, followed by implementing practice standards for the health care practice and evaluating the compliance of the health care facilities to the amendments.

Quality assurance bodies:

There are a number of regulatory authorities that are assigned with the responsibility of maintaining health care quality at the highest at all times. If we take the example of Australia, it is a multicultural hub with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. With people of so many different backgrounds amalgamating, there are a lot of factors that can drag down the health care quality like discrimination, language barrier and what not (Glasziou, Ogrinc & Goodman, 2011). However there are strict regulatory policies and authorities that provide the best of quality assurance to people of Australia, specifically New Zealand.

The Australian council on health care standards are a non profit organization devoted to improving the health care standards of the people of New Zealand relentlessly. Australian Health safety and quality accreditation scheme is devoted to the accreditation of the health and disability facilities all across Australia. Australian commission on safety and quality in health care are focussed on quality benchmarks of health care sector. For a state authority everything related to health care in New Zealand is under the Ministry of health of New Zealand (Kaplan et al., 2010).

There are a number of acts and legislations safeguarding the quality of health care in NZ as well. Health and disability services safety act 2001 audits and monitors the wellbeing and safety of the ill and disabled. The regulatory legislations include Code of the Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Health Information Privacy Code 1994, National Screening Standards, and the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Bill. The generic legislations safeguarding the health care include Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001, the Privacy Act 1993 and the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (Ministry of Health NZ, 2003).

 

Roles of the professional bodies:

Quality assurance in New Zealand the systematic approach of improving quality by the ministry of health care, NZ. In the cumulative scheme, the Minister of health determines the nationally consistent standards and quality assurance programmes for health services and consumer safety. Along with that the responsibilities further diversify into monitoring the performance of the health care facilities and consumer safety at large. The council of health care quality assurance will focus on developing strategies for nationally consistent performance standards and quality assurance reviews (Ministry of Health NZ, 2003).

Subcommittees within this sector include National Health Epidemiology and Quality Assurance Advisory Committee (Epiqual) that overlook and aim to improve the health and disability care practice standards and Mortality Review Committees to provide accurate data on mortality rates. And lastly, each year the minister has top report the progress achieved to the House of Representatives including detailed data of the implementation process of the strategies of improving quality scheme (Ministry of Health NZ, 2003).

Recommendation:

The quality assurance scheme put forward by the New Zealand government is commendable for its efforts dedicated to intricate details of health and disability care. Undoubtedly the scheme has achieved quite a lot in a short time already. However there are a few areas that demand more attention for successful quality improvement in all aspects.

First and foremost, performance measurement has clear connections with the quality improvement procedure in any sector; hence strict performance vigilance can assure much more discretion to the quality assurance process (Thomson et al., 2012).

Designing strategies that are more focussed on outcomes and not implementation would be much more beneficial in designing better and more effective quality improvement.

Incorporating patient feedback and patient retention report will ensure that the focus stays on patient centred care (Tricco et al., 2012).

Measurement of quality standards and performance in a more organizational context would help in determining the progress of entire organization in quality improvement.

Lastly, orchestrating and mandating training and skill improvement programs for the workforce within the health care sector will only help in improving care standards significantly (Tricco et al., 2012).

Conclusion:

On a concluding note, it can be said that health care industry has come a long way from what it used to be years ago. With new amendments to the legislations and practice standards the health and disability care standards have improved radically. However, there still are a few grey areas left behind and with careful amendments to the strategies these gaps can be overcome significantly to achieve the goal of excellence in health care industry.

 

References:

Alkhenizan, A., & Shaw, C. (2011). Impact of accreditation on the quality of healthcare services: a systematic review of the literature. Annals of Saudi medicine, 31(4), 407.

Chassin, M. R., Loeb, J. M., Schmaltz, S. P., & Wachter, R. M. (2010). Accountability measures—using measurement to promote quality improvement.

Colbourn, T., Nambiar, B., Bondo, A., Makwenda, C., Tsetekani, E., Makonda-Ridley, A., ... & Davies, R. (2013). Effects of quality improvement in health facilities and community mobilization through women's groups on maternal, neonatal and perinatal mortality in three districts of Malawi: MaiKhanda, a cluster randomized controlled effectiveness trial. International health, iht011.

Glasziou, P., Ogrinc, G., & Goodman, S. (2011). Can evidence-based medicine and clinical quality improvement learn from each other?. BMJ quality & safety, 20(Suppl 1), i13-i17.

Kaplan, H. C., Brady, P. W., Dritz, M. C., Hooper, D. K., Linam, W., Froehle, C. M., & Margolis, P. (2010). The influence of context on quality improvement success in health care: a systematic review of the literature. The Milbank quarterly, 88(4), 500-559.

Ministry of Health NZ,. (2003). Improving Quality (IQ): A Systems Approach For The New Zealand Health And Disability Sector.

Thomson, S., Osborn, R., Squires, D., & Jun, M. (2012). International profiles of health care systems 2012: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Tricco, A. C., Ivers, N. M., Grimshaw, J. M., Moher, D., Turner, L., Galipeau, J., ... & Tonelli, M. (2012). Effectiveness of quality improvement strategies on the management of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet, 379(9833), 2252-2261.

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