The seven pillars of clinical governance – how healthcare organisations keep standards high

The seven pillars of clinical governance – how healthcare organisations keep standards high

All public sector healthcare services have a duty to maintain high standards in the quality of care they provide to patients. Clinical governance is the toolkit that can help organisations to monitor and improve these standards.

But what exactly is clinical governance?

In a nutshell, it’s an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of different activities. To better understand the framework of clinical governance within an organisation, it can be helpful to break it down into its constituent parts – or pillars; each pillar supporting the overall drive for quality improvement.

Let’s take a quick a look at each of these pillars in turn…

1. Accurate information

Without up-to-date, highly accurate and properly organised information, no healthcare organisation could function correctly and given that confidentiality of patient data is also a pressing concern a secure and properly implemented IT and information management systems is very critical within all healthcare settings.

2. Continual training

In order to provide the very best possible care to patients, healthcare staff should always be adding to and developing their knowledge; this which could be from attending classroom based learning or sector specific events and conferences.

Continued Professional Development is key to ensuring they stay up-to-date on the latest practice within their specialism.

Another option could be to enrol  on a further education course with a view to achieving additional  diplomas or degrees.

3. Staff management

One underperforming staff member could put the effectiveness of the whole organisation at risk meaning careful management of healthcare staff is one of the key pillars of clinical governance, along with continual training.

Staff management is  also supported by providing a motivating and rewarding working culture as well as  creating a pleasant, inclusive and supporting working environment.

4. Risk management

Risk management involves a number of stages, starting with comprehensive risk assessments.

Healthcare organisations also need robust reporting systems in place, helping to identify “near misses” and repetitive problem areas in treatments.

The final stage is to implement processes to mitigate and minimise risks to patients, and prevent incidents.

5. Clinical effectiveness

The number one rule within healthcare is that treatments must always deliver the best outcome for the patient;to ensure this happens every time, staff and procedures must stick rigorously to clinical effectiveness guidelines.

Decisions must be backed by evidence and research, and experience used to make improvements for future decisions relating to patient care.

6. Regular auditing

Without regular assessment of performance and risk management, alongside clear deadlines and targets to work towards, no organisation can improve.

Regular audits help to standardise the monitoring of efforts to improve clinical care standards.

7. Communication with patients

Patients are a vital part of flagging up possible problems within healthcare services. This is why they, and the general public, should be consulted wherever possible.

There are various ways of collating feedback and communicating with patients, including patient forums and feedback questionnaires, along with including patient representatives on hospital and healthcare boards.

If your organisation needs the right people to drive quality improvement, our expert team here at Castlefield Recruitment can help. We’re healthcare and NHS recruitment specialists, and are committed to providing simple, cost-effective resourcing solutions for our clients. Get in touch to find out more.