What Do We Mean by Quality?
When we think about quality in relation to a product or service, we often think about its durability, craftsmanship or value compared to other similar products or services. While healthcare can be measured in much the same way, there are additional elements that affect its quality.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) actually has identified six domains of quality – safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable – which we at Skagit Regional Health aim to exceed every day.
Keeping Our Patients Safe
When doctors and nurses recite their professional pledges, they promise first to do no harm to their patients. Every single physician, surgeon, nurse, clinical support staff and employee at Skagit Regional Health is dedicated to not only keeping our patients safe, but to keeping everyone in our environment safe as well.
This is why we have many standardized processes and procedures throughout our health system for clinical and nonclinical functions. Doing so helps us ensure all necessary steps are taken to promote safe care for our patients as well as a safe environment for all those who share it.
Providing Effective Care
The care we provide is deeply rooted in evidence-based practices. Meaning our diagnostics, procedures and treatments are based as much as possible on tried-and-true science, so we don’t overuse, underuse or misuse a practice. Moreover, the clinicians who work in our service areas are specialty trained, board certified and knowledgeable of best practices and advances in these areas.
Putting Patients First
Keeping you healthy may be our job, but we understand it’s your health – your life. This is why you, the patient, are always at the center of care. We are compassionate, sensitive and responsive to your needs, preferences and values. You and any caregivers you designate will always be involved in clinical decisions.
Providing Timely Care
In order for care to be effective, it must also be timely. This is not only to promote better outcomes, but it’s also to ensure you’re satisfied with your care.
We integrate technology and other time-saving processes into our workflow to reduce wait times, improve accessibility and prevent delays that can be harmful to either patients or their caregivers. Our laboratory services are also within our system, which not only allows us to control the quality in the lab, it also reduces the amount of time it takes to receive lab results.
We are mindful of our resources and promote efficient use of all equipment, supplies, energy, time and other commodities, minimizing waste whenever and wherever we can.
Treating Patients Equally and Fairly
Healthcare quality at Skagit Regional Health will never vary due to a patient’s personal characteristics. This means you will never be treated differently due to your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geographic location or socioeconomic status.
We treat all patients equally and fairly with sensitivity and compassion. We are mindful to always show respect, dignity and kindness to our diverse communities, caring for patients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The National 9-1-1 program provides the following tips for calling for emergency help:
In an emergency, dial or text 9-1-1 immediately.
- Call if you can, text if you can't.
An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance. Examples include:
- A fire
- A crime, especially if in progress
- A car crash, especially if someone is injured
- A medical emergency, especially symptoms that require immediate medical attention
If you're not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, officials recommend calling 9-1-1 and letting the call-taker determine whether you need emergency help.
When you call 9-1-1, be prepared to answer the call-taker's questions, which may include:
- The location of the emergency, including the street address
- The phone number you are calling from
- The nature of the emergency
- Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency.
Remember, the call-taker’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly.
Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you. Many 9-1-1 centers can tell you exactly what to do until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR. Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to.
If you dial 9-1-1 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 9-1-1 when no emergency exists, do not hang up—that could make 9-1-1 officials think that an emergency exists and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
To learn more about Text-to-9-1-1 service in Washington State, click here.