Healthcare embraces AI
In 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an undeniable force, and it's set to make a substantial impact on healthcare. AI has the potential to address a significant portion of the staffing shortages and rapidly develop systems that contribute to human health. But, we should approach AI and its capabilities, and at the same time also its downsides, with caution – right?
Indeed, the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS) recently published the guideline 'Quality of AI in Healthcare,' shedding light on the criteria used to assess AI quality from a healthcare perspective. While AI can undoubtedly be a valuable tool in quality management in healthcare, the use of incorrect systems or drawing wrong conclusions could potentially have adverse effects on healthcare quality.
Data plays a key role in quality management in healthcare
The significance of data in healthcare quality management cannot be overstated, especially since it's been an ongoing trend for a few years now. The focus today is on how to harness and leverage data effectively. Managing data the proper way is crucial. Quality managers must have access to real-time information about quality processes. Effective reporting is essential, allowing for risk identification and reporting, enabling swift implementation of changes and improvements. This, in turn, enhances safety and quality in both processes and the organization itself.
Staff shortages in healthcare: a continuing challenge in 2024
Unfortunately, the outlook for staffing shortages in healthcare in 2024 remains bleak. Factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, a rising number of employees experiencing burnout, and an aging workforce contribute to increasing workloads. Employees feel overwhelmed, and hospitals must contend with a larger group of patients who are sicker than usual due to delayed care during the pandemic.
When discussing quality management and evolving processes, many employees may feel overwhelmed in 2024. However, ignoring these issues is not an option. Therefore, it's crucial for quality managers to create emotional engagement with employees. This includes not only personal involvement, such as focusing on job satisfaction, work-life balance, and career guidance but also considering employees' perspectives on quality. In essence, to initiate process adjustments aimed at improving healthcare quality, it's vital to foster engagement with the organization and its goals among employees.
Healthcare focuses on prevention
Each year, healthcare costs continue to rise. In recent years, under the motto 'prevention is better than cure', the healthcare sector has shifted its focus to prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The government and health insurers are contemplating lifestyle-dependent policies and premiums to address this issue. Research by CBS (the Central Bureau for Statistics) indicates that over 40% of the Dutch population believes that individuals with an unhealthy lifestyle should pay higher premiums than those with a healthy lifestyle. However, there's a catch: several studies suggest that health prevention doesn't always lead to lower healthcare costs. In other words, prevention comes with its own costs.
As we approach 2024, healthcare institutions must grapple with how to handle this shift. What are the consequences of this new approach on existing processes within your organization and on the healthcare provided? How will the healthcare sector adapt? Do processes need adjustment, or are new processes necessary to align with changing circumstances and healthcare approaches? Alternatively, will they attempt to maintain quality by allocating the higher premiums charged by health insurers as a makeshift solution to the quality management expenses? We will closely monitor these developments.
Want to learn more about quality management in healthcare? Contact the experts at WoodWing Scienta, they'll be happy to tell you more.