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Total quality management in hospitals: the contributions of commitment, quality councils, teams, budgets, and training to perceived improvement at Veterans Health Administration hospitals

Total quality management in hospitals: the contributions of commitment, quality councils, teams, budgets, and training to perceived improvement at Veterans Health Administration hospitals

Medical Care 34(5): 463-478

Studies of total quality management as a means of improving health care quality to date have relied on case studies of individual teams or hospitals. The Total Quality Improvement Registry Project surveyed quality coordinators (n = 36) and quality improvement team leaders (n = 228) to collect both site-level and team-level data on quality improvement in Veterans Health Administration hospitals. Usable responses were received from 100% of quality coordinators and 73.7% (168) of team leaders. Site-level data include hospital structural characteristics and measures of training and commitment, as well as features and activities of the hospital quality councils. Team-level data include size, membership, task, age, activities, and a proxy measure of quality improvement. The authors report on the relations between levels of commitment to total quality management principles, training levels, activities of quality councils, and team formation and success. These data provide support for a model of commitment to quality improvement that involves four realms of influence within the medical centers: (1) management, (2) physician leadership, (3) physician staff and middle management, and (4) nurses and employees. The authors also report on the activities of quality councils and the relation of their activities to commitment and perceived improvement. Using bivariate correlation and multiple regression, the authors found that the age of the quality council, overall facility commitment to total quality management philosophy, and physician commitment are the most critical variables in explaining numbers of teams, training intensity, and total perceived improvement at this sample of medical centers. Specifically, we find that commitment to total quality management philosophy and the number of active teams explains 41% of the observed variation in quality improvement. In future articles, the authors will report details of team activities and the development of teams over time.

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Accession: 047802362

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PMID: 8614168

DOI: 10.2307/3766505

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