How do we establish a continuous quality improvement process in our rural health care organization?

Achieving Meaningful Use

Meaningful use is an important stepping stone on the path to establishing a continuous quality improvement process and improving organizational efficiency, health care quality, and patient outcomes. By achieving meaningful use, your rural health care organization can access and analyze the data you need to improve health care quality and patient outcomes.

Continuous Quality Improvement

To establish a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process, your rural health care organization should:

  • Choose and use a model for quality improvement: You can use the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Strategies to Optimize your Practice primer to learn more about different CQI strategies. Be sure to adapt whatever model you choose to your unique circumstances as a rural health care organization.
  • Establish metrics to evaluate quality improvement efforts and outcomes: You should establish metrics to monitor and evaluate the success of your quality improvement efforts. Remember to use metrics that account for unique aspects of rural health care, including: 

- Increased use of telehealth
- Decreased scale of operations and smaller staff size
- Lack of access to the capital funding
- Limited Health IT staffing resources

  • Ensure all staff members and providers understand the metrics for success: You may need to train your staff and providers or perform pilot tests of certain metrics to ensure everyone in your organization understands and buys in to your quality improvement metrics.
  • Involve everyone: Rural health care organizations often play significant roles in their communities, and patients and families are often very invested in the welfare of their local health care organizations. Be sure to involve everyone – including patients and families in addition to staff members and providers – to improve buy-in to the quality improvement process.
  • Optimize your electronic health record (EHR): You should reassess what you learned from training and daily use of your EHR and work to improve your organization’s workflows and further capture the benefits of EHRs.

CQI is a complex process, and these are just the basics. The Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Strategies to Optimize your Practice primer will help you learn more about CQI, the leading CQI strategies in health care, and how to choose a CQI strategy.

For More Information

For more information about CQI in rural health care settings, see the following resources.

Content last reviewed on June 13, 2019
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