the importance of quality measures in home health



Quality measures are very important in home health. Home healthcare, just like hospital based healthcare needs quality standards so as to ensure that the care provided is of high quality. To establish the quality of services, several measures are assessed and the home healthcare agency assigned a star rating based on its performance. This assessment not only shows the performance of several agencies but also brings about a sense of competition since it encourages healthcare providers to find better ways of improving service delivery.





The main quality measures evaluated are measures that are applicable to a large number of home healthcare patients. This will ensure that the measure being evaluated has a large impact on health service provision due to the large number of patients. Evaluation of factors that affect majority of patients will also make sure that the healthcare providers are fairly assessed since such factors are likely to be common among different providers hence they will have similar mode of assessment.

The measures under study are also variable. This will give a chance for different home healthcare providers to improve on their technique and come up with better and more unique methods. This will then give rise to diversity in the sector while at the same time promoting quality standards and similarity in the quality of service delivery.

The quality measure under evaluation should also have clinical relevance. Since the evaluation is of healthcare service provision, the measure under evaluation should have clinical significance. Healthcare is the major focus of this quality assessment thus clinical aspects of healthcare providers should be assessed.

The quality measured should also be very stable and not have major random variations. For maintenance of standards, the quality of service provision should remain constant. In the same way, the aspects being assessed to determine quality standards should be constant and not fluctuate with time. In this way, the evaluation process will be stable, and easy to adhere to and understand. Much as the process can be modified gradually over time, this change must not be sudden and random, giving the process stability.

Considering the above criteria, the measures used to assess patient care are grouped into outcome and process measures. Outcome measures look at patient outcome and the condition of patients who have been managed by home health agencies. Process measures on the other hand, look at the daily functioning of the agency and scrutinize the manner in which home health agencies execute their mandate in the management of patients.

RAW Enterprises helps home healthcare agencies to improve their star rating by evaluating the agencies and scrutinizing the low performing areas. Our firm then identifies the issues that lead to the poor ratings and works with the agency’s staff to improve healthcare service provision. RAW Enterprises does this by participating in training of staff members on ways to improve the agencies’ quality standards.

Quality measures are very important in home healthcare. Timely initiation of care for instance, is a measure that evaluates the time taken to initiate healthcare. This is very important for any healthcare provider since time is of essence in medicine. An ideal healthcare institution should, therefore, take as little time possible to provide the required health services. This is because time has adverse effect on the progression of most conditions and timely intervention leads to positive outcomes in the disease process. Timely initiation of action is therefore very important in evaluating the performance of home healthcare agencies. RAW Enterprises works with health agencies to enable their staff increase their efficiency in timely initiation of action. This will greatly improve the star rating of that agency.

Drug education for patients and caregivers is also an important aspect that is evaluated. Patients and care givers of pediatric and geriatric patients need proper education about the drugs dispensed and the dosing schedules so as to ensure optimum adherence. Health service providers should therefore take this role seriously. RAW Enterprises educates staff on the importance of drug education and gives the staff several education patterns. The staff is then able to develop a system of patient education and incorporate it into their dispensing routine. This will not only improve the star ratings of the agency in question, but also patient outcomes in general.

Timely vaccination such as influenza vaccine given during flu season is also assessed. Healthcare service providers including home agencies need to demonstrate proper practice by administering vaccinations in good time, an example being giving influenza vaccine during flu season. Timely vaccination demonstrates serious commitment on the part of healthcare agencies to disease prevention.

RAW Enterprises also helps home healthcare agencies improve outcome measures such as improvement in ambulation. Patients’ ability to stand upright and walk is very important as it is an indicator of rehabilitation and recovery. The time taken for patients to be able to ambulate is therefore very important. Ambulation not only shows recovery but it also facilitates complete healing of the body. Healthcare providers should therefore ensure that the patient gets the necessary rehabilitative therapy to allow them to ambulate as soon as possible. The speed at which patients achieve ambulation is, therefore, indicative of the rehabilitative efforts of the healthcare provider. Our firm helps home health agencies to recruit quality rehabilitation techniques such as physiotherapy and how these can be used to enhance patient outcomes.

Patients’ improvement in self-care abilities is also an important measure that is used to assess quality standards. Patient’s ability to bathe themselves and transfer from the bed is a good indicator of healing and good progress. Home healthcare agencies should aim at total patient recovery and independence which returns the patient to their normal state before the illness. Improvement in self-care abilities is therefore an important measure used in the determination of quality of healthcare service provision.

Improvement of serious debilitating symptoms such as shortness of breath and pain that interferes with activity is also a measure used to assess quality and assign star ratings. Pain that interferes with activity is severe in nature, and this causes anxiety and stress in the patient since such a patient is in a constant unpleasant state. Relief of debilitating pain is therefore an important component in healthcare since pain is the commonest symptom of disease and relief of pain is most times synonymous with cure of the disease. As an evaluation factor, pain relief signifies the efficiency of the health agency in improving patient comfort. Shortness of breath on the other hand also causes distress to the patient and interferes with their day to day activities. Shortness of breath is therefore a serious symptom whose relief causes great improvement in the patient’s life. As such, it is an important factor to consider when evaluating home health agencies. At our firm, we help home health agencies to come up with and adopt the latest scientifically effective ways of pain management and relief of shortness of breath. This not only improves patient satisfaction but also the star rating of the agencies we work with.

Another very important measure of healthcare evaluated is the provision of acute care hospitalization. The need for hospitalization for acute care in patients receiving home healthcare is an indicator of the efficiency of the home healthcare being provided. Good quality home healthcare should reduce the need for acute hospitalization as patients will be healthier and any pre-existing conditions they may have well managed. At RAW Enterprises, we take it upon ourselves to ensure that the firms we work with have the best knowledge and training to ensure that they have high star ratings and provide the best healthcare.