The Six Aims

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published the book, ‘Crossing the Quality Chasm.’ The book was offered to health care leaders as a model for improving care for patients across the nation.

At McLeod Health, we read the book as a leadership team and discussed the implications of the recommendations upon our strategic plan.  ‘Six Aims’ are recommended for improving health care in the 21st century.  Health care should be:

“Safe – avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.

Effective – providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit (avoiding under-use and over-use).

Patient-centered – providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.

Timely – reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.

Efficient – avoiding waste, in particular waste of equipment, supplies, ideas and energy.

Equitable – providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socio-economic status.”

Our improvement projects in Clinical Effectiveness and Operational Effectiveness, as well as our goals for the year, are filtered through these ‘Six Aims’ for improving quality and safety.

Tuesday, in our Quality and Safety meeting in Florence, Dick Tinsley, Beki Cooley and Harriet Jeffords reviewed with us the patient outcomes for Wound Care and Rehabilitation.  In each area, we are benchmarking our performance against national quality data to measure how we are meeting the needs of our patients.  In Rehabilitation, we reviewed therapy outcomes in pain, motion and function across six quarters or eighteen months as compared to a national benchmark.  In each case, patients are receiving results in these outcomes.  Rehabilitation is using this information to improve patient outcomes, share with physicians, as well as develop individual education plans by therapist.

During this Quality and Safety meeting, we also heard an update by Teresa Anderson and Sherman Thomas on a project to improve patient satisfaction with the timeliness of food delivered to patients on nursing unit, 6 West.  They detailed the first few improvement cycles of … Plan, Do, Check, Act.  They are showing early improvement with changes to the process.

On Tuesday afternoon in Dillon, the Quality and Safety team heard an update from Joan Ervin on ‘Hand-offs and Transitions in Care.’ Health care has become complex due to specialization and we need to constantly examine and re-examine our processes to insure safety and effective care. The ‘Six Aims’ of the IOM are again influencing our service to patients.

I am encouraged by the work I see ongoing by teams across McLeod Health.  A quote by Goethe is appropriate … “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Thank you for allowing the ‘Six Aims’ to direct our improvement work for and with our patients and families.


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