New Quality Framework to Guide Delivery of Care at Indian Health Service



Plan outlines program to improve patient experience and health outcomes

The Indian Health Service (IHS) today announced its 2016-17 Quality Framework outlining how IHS will develop, implement, and sustain an effective quality program that improves patient experience and outcomes, strengthens organizational capacity, and ensures the delivery of reliable, high quality health care at IHS federal-government-operated, direct service facilities.

“The IHS Quality Framework will guide our efforts as we continue to improve the level of service we are providing to our patients,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary L. Smith. “This is an important milestone for IHS and tribal communities and will benefit patients by establishing a consistent approach to quality across all IHS facilities. IHS is committed to providing health care that patients trust.”

The Quality Framework was developed by assessing current IHS quality policies, practices, and programs, incorporating standards from national experts, consulting with tribal leaders and including best practices from across the IHS system of care.

Quality priorities outlined in the Framework are:

1)  Strengthen Organizational Capacity to Improve Quality of Care and Systems

2)  Meet and Maintain Accreditation for IHS Direct Service Facilities

3)  Align Service Delivery Processes to Improve Patient Experience

4)  Ensure Patient Safety

5)  Improve Transparency and Communication Regarding Patient Safety and                Quality to IHS Stakeholders

Specific objectives identified in the Framework include promoting a culture of patient safety in which all staff feel comfortable reporting medical errors, instituting processes to support learning from experiences, and reducing patient wait times for appointments. IHS, like other health care communities in the public and private sectors, works to identify issues and correct them before they affect patients.

The Framework will be reviewed and updated annually. The initial focus is on strengthening the underlying quality foundation of the federally operated facilities within the IHS system of care by building upon existing initiatives and programs.

Throughout this year, IHS has been collaborating with tribal leaders and local health partners on a series of actions to aggressively confront some long-standing health care service challenges, pursuing solutions that will bring sustainable improvements in quality of care at hospitals and facilities across the IHS system:

IHS Quality Framework Implementation Plan

IHS Quality Framework



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