HQPs: A Stablizing Force in a Changing Environment

HQPs: A Stablizing Force in a Changing Environment

Healthcare quality professionals can position themselves as a stabilizing force in a rapidly changing care environment. Certain healthcare trends will provide quality professionals with the opportunity to deepen their impact on their organizations. NAHQ Next general session speakers David Nash, MD MBA, founding dean of Jefferson College of Population Health, and Stephanie Mercado, CAE, CEO and executive director of NAHQ, will share their insights on how healthcare quality professionals can take the lead in achieving their organization’s quality goals. In advance of NAHQ Next, they provide a glimpse of their general session in this brief Q&A.

What is one of the biggest trends affecting the industry that provide healthcare quality professionals with opportunities to be the stabilizing force their organization needs? 

Dr. Nash: There are lots of trends affecting the industry, but one of the biggest trends is measurement mania. The increasing number of new measures can be disheartening to healthcare quality professionals because the data they provide may not necessarily be tied back to improving outcomes. We need to move from process measures to outcome measures that prompt questions and once we get the results, take action.

Stephanie: There has been a trend in healthcare to move from quality as compliance, to quality as performance. Today, we need to advance the conversation further to elevate quality as a healthcare business strategy. Healthcare quality professionals can be leaders in this conversation and offer stability amid change by helping leaders and front line staff understand that ‘change is what stays the same’, and improvement is the only constant in our lives. When we look for opportunities to improve we are setting our sights on future success and stability, instead of being passive bystanders that may fall victim to circumstances.

How can today’s healthcare quality professionals demonstrate their value and expertise to their organization’s C-suite?

Dr. Nash: One way that healthcare quality professionals demonstrate their value and expertise is by successfully completing accreditation for their organization. Successful organizations know they must do this efficiently because it can be costly. They must ensure the organization is focused on measures that have an economic impact on areas like readmission or that the measurement team contributes to a culture of safety and is seen as central to the organization’s mission.

Stephanie: Disruption is everywhere in healthcare. CEOs are navigating against moving targets for quality and safety and value. Quality professionals live to evolve and improve and armed with the right competencies, healthcare quality professionals can help address navigate and lead change. Quality professionals who reach out to their C-suite and engage leaders in dialog about what’s important to the executive team are thriving. Ask your CEO what is paining them and develop a plan to help. Also, offer them suggestions about what’s needed from your perspective to ‘clear the path for quality’.

How can NAHQ and academic programs prepare healthcare quality professionals for their role today and tomorrow?

Dr. Nash: The marketplace recognizes and values the CPHQ, NAHQ’s certification. We need to push the scholarship of quality and encourage our students and members to publish their research. And, healthcare quality professionals should get a postgraduate degree in healthcare quality or patient safety from any of the academic programs in the country.

Stephanie: In an environment where disruption is present, it’s critical to keep up. NAHQ is focused on making sure that healthcare quality professionals are armed with the right competencies to do the work well. This includes the CPHQ. A rigorous job analysis helps NAHQ keep its finger on the pulse of the work quality professionals are doing and aims to help them do it well. And, our industry experts who are developing HQ Essential competencies, are developing new resources that will help those CPHQs stay current, long after they have achieved their certification. NAHQ also encourages quality professionals to pursue higher education in quality and safety. There are now 17 graduate programs in quality and safety across the country. This is a signal in the market that the competency requirements are evolving and that there are supplemental ways for quality professionals to develop professionally.

Dr. Nash and Stephanie will present their NAHQ Next general session, Increasing Value of the Healthcare Quality Profession. Making the Most of Change to Deliver on the Promise of Healthcare Quality, on Tuesday, November 6 at 8:30 am. Learn more about NAHQ Next.