#2 – Begin With The End in Mind
It happens each year. You run through the finish line at the end of the year, take a quick breather over the holidays, and then jump back into work, pounding out Uniform Data System (UDS) reports. But you sit down at your desk and a cold sweat comes over you. Your hypertension control numbers are awful (or worse, same as last year). But December 31st has come and gone and there is nothing you can do to make it better. You make a mental note to work on improving those numbers this next year. But before you know it, you’re buried in the day-to-day and it’s November in the blink of an eye-and you still haven’t done anything to “move the needle”.
So let’s do something different this year.
Before you even start cranking out the UDS reports, spend two hours (schedule it on your calendar) reviewing your UDS outcomes from the previous year. If you are like most of us, your “areas-in-need-of-improvement” look a whole lot like the previous year’s “areas-in-need-of-improvement”. Look at the areas with the poorest outcomes and select the worst 3. Then look at those 3 metrics and choose the one you think is the easiest one to improve (maybe you have a volunteer that specializes in that area or you just got a grant for a related project). Plan a simple QI Project and plan out the steps for the entire next year. Make sure to plan these events within the first 9 months of the year so you have time to see a positive change.
Then, pull out your health center’s QI Plan. (Yeah, you know. That thing you worked on a few years ago that told the feds what you were going to do…and that you haven’t thought about since…Yeah. That one.) Read it from beginning to end. Underline or highlight all of the areas that explain something that you will do. Then, make sure you are doing them…or that you are going to start doing them in the new year. When your next operational site visit comes up, you won’t need to frantically make sure that everything is in order. You’ll be ready.
Stay tuned for #3 – Avoid the “Everything’s quality” trap.