Head of Projects at RCVS Knowledge, Kathleen Reinoga, introduces us to the concept of ‘quality’ in the veterinary context and how it underpins our Quality Improvement Project.
Quality is a word we can associate with many parts of our life; it can mean different things to different people.
Quality is a key factor when making a decision, like buying a well-made pair of boots that you know will last four times as long as your last pair. Maybe it’s a quality cup of tea, when everything comes together perfectly and you can finally relax with your hands around a hot brew.
Quality can be measurable, such as the grades you got in your final exam, or intangible, like spending quality time with your friends and family.
You work with quality every day, from the CE Marking on your computer at reception, the ISO 8655:2002 pipettes in the diagnostic laboratory, or the medication you supply to your patients which was assessed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
If any one of these items didn’t have a system, a standard, of quality when it was produced, is it possible that you would still have had the desired outcome?
So how does quality fit in to everyday veterinary practice?
Quality is about ensuring that a consistent, evidence-based approach is applied to all cases. It is understood globally that care should above all be:
- Safe; avoiding harm to our patients, our clients and ourselves
- Effective; delivered using the best evidence as to what is clinically effective, improving animal health and welfare
- Patient-centred; having an open line of communication with our clients to respect their needs and preferences, to ensure the health and welfare of the patient
By bringing these principles to our job we can work together to promote and maintain a safe, efficient and equitable practice, ensuring very best outcomes for our patients and a positive experience for our clients.
Being part of a workplace that focuses on the quality of care delivered promotes a positive culture. We want you and your colleagues to be happy coming to work every day, knowing that you are providing the best possible care.
In the coming months you’ll be seeing us talking more and more about quality, in particular, quality improvement (QI). We will be bringing together bright minds from within the veterinary world, to discuss what quality improvement means to them.
We can learn from each other, from our success and our failure, by sharing our observations and our outcomes: an ongoing commitment to evidence-based veterinary medicine.
Quality is about consistent and acceptable results. Think about that cup of tea; you wouldn’t put the milk in first… would you?
Want to learn more about how we can successfully implement QI? Check out our first commentary: Quality Improvement and the NHS: Lessons for Vets.