TQM is a shorter version of Total Quality Management. It is often referred to as an employee’s ability to work for the long-term continuous improvement of the organization. In this new era, where everyone is quality conscious. Implementation of Quality practices is pretty much necessary. Whether the healthcare sector or any other services sector.
When we talk about the implementation of TQM practices, we are mainly talking about Quality Management Principles. According to ISO, there are 8 Quality management principles. While we are implementing those principles, TQM comes into reality (on grounds).
Defining TQM under Healthcare Sector
Total Quality Management is another name for continuous improvement while considering customer demand and employee involvement side by side. Application of the Total Quality Management system is not limited to the Manufacturing industry. It plays a pivotal role in service providing companies as well. There are a few principles to follow.
Quality is an important strategic issue that should be addressed at all levels of the organization. Whether the industrial sector, healthcare sector, or any other services sector. (Crosby 1979; Oakland 2000).
An organization should make strategic decisions to provide a basis for the implementation of the quality management system based on its objectives, structure, size, product, and services. (Oakland,2003)
Importance of TQM in the Healthcare Sector
The medical or healthcare sector is a huge example of continuous change and improvement. One cannot deny the importance of Quality in the healthcare sector. TQM implementation can bring a huge change in the hospital industry i.e. from patients’ safety to patients’ satisfaction and from hospital staff’s work-life quality to hospital cleaning environment. Skilled physicians and the latest healthcare equipment facility can help you to provide better patient care.
Similarly, a continuously improved culture and access to the latest data can help you to improve the performance of your business. TQM plays a vital role in the optimization of better healthcare services, improved culture, and a wide range of useful data.
TQM can help you improve patients’ safety standards and strategic tools as well. TQM requires teamwork, whether it is cleaning staff, physicians’ nurses, IT, or management staff. They all will be held accountable for the execution of TQM in their organizations.
4 Major Barriers in the Healthcare sector affecting Total Quality Management Implementation
1. Resistance to change
It is a universal fact, whenever there is a change there will be resistance for it. Physicians are reluctant towards changes that they cannot control i.e., change of supply chain channel, improvement of some medical equipment, or revolution in medicine.
But the root of TQM lies within change management and involvement of interested parties at every level. This reluctance from the physician’s side is a barrier to the complete execution of the Total quality management system in the Healthcare sector.
2. Limited access to the data used for accountability
It is necessary to have a result-based and data-driven organization. One cannot work on continuous improvement if enough data is not available. Often it is seen that in healthcare organizations, complete data is not available i.e. data is available in chunks and bites.
An integrated data management system is not available which is the core of the Total Quality Management system. In such scenarios data is not accessible to persons who need to analyze it. When data is not available and is an incomplete application of TQM suffers.
3. Non-Availability Direct and Indirect Customer Feedback
Hospitals lack in providing and gathering possible customer feedback. That is needed to improve the services, provided by the organizations i.e. hospitals and clinics, etc.
When positive and negative feedback of the customers (i.e. patients and their attendants) is unavailable there will be no quality improvement in services provided by the hospitals.
4. Ignorance of leadership towards Cultural Change
Change always from top to bottom, so the leadership must take enough steps towards the improvement of organizational culture. Culture is defined, addressed, and ensured by the leadership. It is always difficult to shift the culture, but one must take a step forward.