Clinical care is health care that encompasses the Prevention, Treatment and Management of illness or injury as well as the maintenance of psychosocial, mental, and physical wellbeing; it should aim to prevent deterioration of health and enhance quality of life.
A clinical governance framework is mandatory – this articulates how an organisation intends to ensure high quality and safe care. More than that, your governance approach must address the needs, goals, and preferences of consumers.
That said, governance must have a transparent culture. It’s not enough for a board to accept data at face value, it must be interrogated to determine its validity – an effective and reliable ‘Assurance Mechanism’ is critical otherwise mismanagement and misconduct can slip through the cracks with poor accountability. To facilitate this assessment, ask:
- How do we as a board know that our organisation’s care is safe and effective?
- How do we know we have a safety culture?
- How do we know our care is consumer/person-centred?
- How do we know our people are capable?
- How do we know we are measuring, monitoring, and reporting on key clinical risks?
Complementing governance is quality. All aged care providers must comply with the Aged Care Quality Standards. One way to ensure compliance with this framework is effective clinical governance that will support the achievement of good clinical outcomes for consumers. So, it really is in an organisation’s best interest to rethink their approach to governance.
Additionally, providers should ensure they are engaging in a robust continuous improvement initiative. It should be an ongoing, objective process that evaluates how well an organisation works, and identifies ways to improve its processes. As a general rule, the principles of quality management are:
- Customer focus – keep the customer at the fore of everything you do
- Leadership – ensure leaders are appropriately skilled and on the same page about organisational vision
- Engagement of people – involve stakeholders, staff, and customers in decision making and service design
- Process approach – use the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) tool (or similar) when investigating quality
- Improvement – proactively (and reactively) seek opportunities to enhance elements of your business or services
- Evidence-based design – use data to make informed decisions when exploring new opportunities
- Relationship management – regularly supporting and liaising with stakeholders and suppliers can maintain solid relationships and keep them accountable (don’t forget, they can be a part of the consumer experience).