October 1, 2013
Continuous improvement in quality and productivity processes is essential for any business that wants to be profitable but more so for Health care organizations due to the constant changing nature of their practice. The philosophy of continuous improvement is captured in the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle proposed by W. Edwards Deming (Fitzsimmons et. Al., 2013). The three principles that form the foundation for Deming’s teaching are Customer satisfaction, Management by Facts, and Respect for people. Health care delivery must focus on satisfying patients’ needs and this principle must be incorporated into the mind of every employee of a healthcare organization. Scientific thinking (collecting and statistically analyzing data) must also be merged with administrative analysis before decisions are made by the quality improvement teams. For quality improvement to be established in an organization, there must be mutual respect amongst employees where everybody’s ideas on improving processes are solicited. By implementing these principles, the idea of “higher quality could lead to lower cost,” can be manifested. How well is Intermountain Health Care performing?
From the case study, intermountain Health care is performing very well. As of 2001, the intermountain healthcare (IHC) Health plan was the largest in Utah which covered about 460,000 individuals and a market share of 40%. The closest competitor being Blue Cross and Blue Shield, covered 425,000 individuals. IHC started with fifteen hospitals in 1975 and after 27 years grew it to 22 hospitals, 25 health centers and over 70 outpatient’s clinics all across Utah and Southeastern Idaho. IHC is a vertically integrated Health care organization that has won many top awards in the industry. In 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, Intermountain Healthcare was ranked No. 1 (among nearly 600 evaluated) integrated healthcare systems in the...