What is Quality?
There are plenty of definition and explanations by several number of researchers and experts. As simple for our understanding, quality means “performance upon expectations”. For any product or service which performs to meet the expectations of the consumer that the consumer ready to pay for that specific product or service.
In other word, we can say as the degree of excellence provided by the product, process or services. If your product, process or service meets or exceeds the expectation of consumer, then yours will recommend it as a quality product or service.
However, in healthcare sector there is not a single or common definition for the quality. It differs according to the perspective of stakeholders involved.
From the perspective of patient, quality is providing individual and upmost care.
From the perspective of attenders, effective process and efficient performance of the system is quality.
From the community, quality may be the infrastructure, accessibility and transparency.
Likewise, the list can be prolonged from different stakeholder’s perspective. Hence providing high quality of care is the basic objective of any institutions under healthcare sector.
Quality of Care
Healthcare sector, where it deals with the health of the stakeholders it was considering as a lifesaving sector. Any kind of compromise in healthcare quality is not acceptable and advisable. Now a day’s quality of care is determining by various factors like quality of infrastructure, quality of personal, quality of practitioners, quality of machineries and instruments and with the quality of system followed.
A patient centric system will help you to achieve the quality of care where the patient is the most important person in your entire process. Diagnostic, Treatment and curative revolves around your patient. Developing a system with high quality of care in an affordable cost is a challenge faced by this sector.
House of Quality
Now a days manufacturing sectors are changed their business operations from a product oriented approach to customer oriented approach. In order to meet the customer requirement and industries long term growth, building a quality approach is vital. Based on the development of a sequence of matrices known as “House of Quality”, you can develop Quality Function Deployment(QFD) to integrate the informational needs of the customer.
The House of Quality Matrix is the most recognized and widely used to achieve higher customer satisfaction. Not only as an important source for potential improvements, it can be also used to calculate prioritising, benchmarking and quality improvement processes. The house of quality tool you to carry out a competitor assessment and performance improvement.
How to construct a “House of Quality”?
As we discussed about the importance of quality and the importance of constructing a “House of Quality”. To meet the changing preferences of customer and the business processes are changed towards customer centric, it is important to understand the Voice of Customer(VOC).
Let us discuss with an example in our healthcare sector.
In a multi-speciality hospital, there is a separate department called “Casualty Centre”. Many cases casualty centre act as a heart of that hospital. Now the two important activities in casualty department is receiving patient safe and effective, communicating to appropriate consultant and timely treatment.
In a survey conducted at a private hospital at Coimbatore, through the questionnaire we got the “Voice of Customer” as:
24X7 functioning of casualty department
Proper patient handling
Qualified and trained staffs
Communicating to right consultant at right time
Transparency while treating
Exact communication of treatment process to the attenders.
Now these Voice of Customer has been converted as customer need and we need to create a system and structure to meet the customer need by obtaining the above mentioned “Voice of Customer”. The next step is to prioritize the “Voice of Customer”. With the collected data, according to the weightage given by the customer we have to prioritize and rank it.
If your customer gives maximum weightage to Qualified and trained staffs, then you have to design the system of recruitment process accordingly. Likewise, for each and every “Voice of Customer” you have to create an effective system to construct your “House of Quality”.
House of quality process starts with collecting customer’s attributes, covers the whole process of design specifications, service planning and ends at treatment planning. The principal benefit of the house of quality is to provide “quality of Care”. House of Quality promotes cross-functional teamwork which reduces the uncertainty involved in process design.
Quality Function Deployment:
Quality Function Deployment(QFD) helps to understand the different aspects of a hospital, its efficiency from taking care of its patients to their response time when under pressure in dire situations. The distinctive characteristic of the Quality Function Deployment method is that all elements are brought together in a graphic and positioned in relation to one another. As previously stated, the house of quality model has several parts from which it can be broken down into several numbers of steps.
Now the QFD was analysed using two different dimension named Quality Demand and Quality Characteristics as shown in the Fig.1.
As we discussed above, Voice of Customer will be converted as customer need which we call it as demanded quality and list it as mentioned in Fig.2
Now we have to list out the quality characteristics, such as
Staffs explains information clearly
Respectful towards patient
Following standard procedure
Following effective documentation and list it as mentioned in the Fig.3
Technical Correlation Matrix:
The technical correlation matrix looks at the customer requirements also known as the technical requirements as sees how each one affects the other. The goal is to see how each of the technical requirements, that we figured out will work together and change the requirements that have design conflicts.
There are four symbols that represent strong positive correlation, positive correlation, negative correlation, and strong negative correlation. If there are strong correlations that are positive or any correlation between requirements there must be communication between engineers before making changes. A change in one requirement will affect that of another requirement. When it comes to negative or strong negative correlation changes would have to be made towards the requirements.
The main reason for the technical correlation matrix is to find the negative correlation between requirements.
When a House of Matrix has a negative correlation between customer requirements, the engineer should try to make changes to eliminate that negative correlation. Sometimes improving a requirement can negatively affect another. This is because most of the technical requirements are closely related to one another. In some cases, it is just best to not make improvements to some requirements.
With the help of VoC, construct your House of Quality in Quality Function Deployment chart using the above relationship matrix symbol and shown in Fig.4
Now, you requested to map the direction of importance as mention below and create a chart like Fig.5.
QFD can give you plenty of ideas as to how you could improve your product or service simply from the information collected. The QFD matrix shows all the information at a glance, and you can learn even more from it. QFD is a proven technique that can reduce the number of defects, subsequently resulting in gains for product development and customer satisfaction. When this extended approach was applied to all departments, then you can travel towards the path of achieving “Zero Defect”.