Interdisciplinary integration for quality improvement: the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center Firm System.

J. N. Aucott, E. Pelecanos, A. J. Bailey, T. C. Shupe, J. H. Romeo, J. I. Ravdin, D. C. Aron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Many of the characteristics of Firm Systems lend themselves to the application of principles of continuous quality improvement (CQI). A Firm System is defined as two or more parallel practices organized on the principle of continuity of relationships between patients and an interdisciplinary group of health care professionals and trainees. Firm Systems are organized around the care of the patient or customer and emphasize access, continuity, and quality of care. CASE STUDY: The Firm System was implemented at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) not as a CQI initiative per se, but as an effort to coordinate the processes involved in the delivery of patient care. The primary goals of this implementation were to improve the quality of patient care, medical education, and health care research. The main strategy to deal with problems caused by uncoordinated care were to move from a departmental approach to an integrated interdisciplinary approach. This approach represented a paradigm shift within the organization that extended to planning, documentation, and the general work environment. Most important, the institution had leaders who were committed to the Firm System and willing to authorize resources to ensure its success. CONCLUSION: VA hospitals are ideal settings for Firm Systems because they provide longitudinal, comprehensive care with a centralized, prepaid payment mechanism, and they have well-developed information systems that allow the random assignment of patients to Firms. Recommendations to others interested in implementing Firm Systems include creation of a written plan that can gain general support; identification of resources needed for successful implementation; remembering that the patient is the most important customer, as well as that complex systems have many customers; monitoring of performance; and the importance of randomizing patients and providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalThe Joint Commission journal on quality improvement
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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