HEALTHCARE QUALITY IMPROVEMENT IN PAKISTANI HOSPITALS
Dr. Gohar Wajid, Dr. A. K. Al Zarouni & Dr. Hissa Ahmed Al Massoud
Source: ICQI 2002 – Pakistan 7th International Convention on Quality Improvement, Karachi
Publisher: PIQC Institute of Quality
Dr. Gohar Wajid is a medical graduate from Pakistan. Dr. Wajid also holds a Master in Health Management Information Systems from UK and Master in Public Health from Australia. He provides consultation to the Ministry of Health in the UAE on Health Management Information Systems and Healthcare Quality Management Issues. Dr. Wajid has been working in the field of HMIS and Healthcare Quality Management for the past more than ten years. He has worked in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and for the WHO. He is a Certified professional in Healthcare Quality from the USA. As a healthcare quality professional, he is actively involved with the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, National Association of Healthcare Quality (USA) and many other international organizations related to HMIS and health management. In 1997, Dr. Wajid conducted the first ever study on the quality of healthcare services being provided by Paksitani tertiary level hospitals. His areas of interest include the development of strategies for HMIS and Quality Management issues in developing countries.
The quality of healthcare services has emerged as a rapidly advancing discipline in most of the developed countries in the past few decades. Healthcare Quality Management has yet not been recognized as a specialized discipline in a large number of developing countries. The development of healthcare quality management depends on the value and priority given by the leadership to integrate quality management with the healthcare delivery system in a country. At the global level, quality is likely to get its due place in the national healthcare systems, (including Pakistan) because of the following factors:
· Better educated and well-informed public;
· Increasingly competitive healthcare system and healthcare environment;
· Building of modern hospitals with substantial investment;
· Globalization of healthcare services;
· Recent healthcare reforms in the health sector of many countries;
· Increasing availability of specialists in relatively neglected areas such as hospital management, healthcare services management, health economics etc.;
· Increasing success of quality management programmes in raising quality and reducing costs;
· Increasing interest from international organizations such as WHO etc.
Healthcare system in Pakistan has shown great improvements since independence. A reasonable physical infrastructure for healthcare delivery has already been developed and appropriately qualified workforce is also available in health sector. However, the strategic and operational planning issues have not been paid their due attention. As a result, the process of healthcare delivery is not yet fully established. There is little awareness among healthcare leaders about the importance of quality management as an organized discipline to improve the quality of care. This is high time that Pakistani healthcare leaders integrate quality improvement activities with the strategic and operational planning process of the healthcare system. Integration of QI discipline with the healthcare delivery system is likely to maximize the benefits of the system and thus help in restoring the rapidly deteriorating public trust over the system.
The paper will discuss the barriers to the healthcare quality improvement efforts in Pakistan, expected changes in the healthcare system in near future and the need for integrating QI activities with the healthcare system to maximize the outcome oriented benefits of the system. The study will discuss the latest trends in QI in healthcare, elaborate a strategy to integrate quality improvement into the healthcare planning process and the role of organizations such as the Pakistan Medical Research Council, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and The Pakistan Institute of Quality Control in improving the quality of healthcare services in Pakistan. The strategy has been developed keeping in view the barriers to QI, specific to the cultural and socio-economic conditions of Pakistan.