Education and research are vital areas in many organizations since they enhance solutions to complex situations. Moreover, they involve the identification of complexities or difficulties in service delivery and the formulation of activities that will assist in eradicating deficiencies. Education and research ought to be a continuous process and enhance the upgrading of workers’ skills and knowledge in order to enhance quality delivery of services. In most cases, in-house research is required for the self-development of the personnel through trainings and mentoring (Eaton, 2012). Most evidently, organizational education and research include an assessment in the field of performance management, process reengineering, enhancing welfare of employees and departmental evaluation. Research and education enhance a meaningful and relevant enactment of policies as well as procedures that in return bring about a positive transformation in an organizational setting. Furthermore, education and research should involve all members of a healthcare organization with managers taking the lead. The current paper discusses quality assurance as an area where education and research are conducted and specifically looks into the healthcare sector along with services provided, key personnel involved, trends in the sector and the way it relates with other areas in the setting.
Quality Assurance Services
Quality assurance is one of the most vital activities of education and research in organizations. It includes programs meant to ensure a rise in the standards of service provision in a defined healthcare environment. In most cases, the department of quality assurance is tasked with a deep assessment and evaluation of the quality of services and products provided to clients (Arachchi, Chong, & Madhushani, 2015). It is charged with providing vital services in a healthcare organization, including protecting and improving the safety, health as well as welfare of people. In most cases, the department is responsible for investigations of complaints from other stakeholders. It also has the function to regulate the personnel within an organization. Besides, it ensures that there is training along with the registry of relevant information that can be relied upon by a healthcare organization. The department engages in research that assists it in constructing or remodeling organizational facilities (Arachchi, Chong, & Madhushani, 2015). Quality assurance divisions are involved in regular audits of protocols and databases. In that case, all documents audited will have to be initially approved by the customer department, since quality control stages of such documents are involved in an assessment, meaning that the document has to be signed off at the final stages before it undergoes auditing (Lefresne, Olivotto, Joe, Blood, & Olson, 2013). Therefore, the quality assurance department has to act within its scope of services in order to enhance smooth operations and administration.
Key Personnel in the Quality Assurance Department
The establishment and maintenance of a complete system in the department of quality assurance requires qualified personnel involved in carrying out vital activities that should be completely understood prior to a real action. Moreover, they ought to be aware of all principles of performance within the department (Eaton, 2012). After a cautious selection and screening of the personnel, it is vital to determine their actual level of qualification, including thinking skills. The staff of the quality assurance department includes a medical transcriptionist, quality editor, quality manager, and the support staff. The former is responsible for understanding, interpreting and transcribing dictations from other professionals in order to deliver quality services effectively. Besides, a medical transcriptionist is required to have knowledge in various fields, including medical language, physiology, pharmacology, and laboratory among others. A quality editor is responsible for reviewing the tasks fulfilled by others. He or she is required to be competent in referencing and researching and to possess amicable communication skills that will enable him or her to provide a reliable feedback to the medical transcriptionist (Arachchi, Chong, & Madhushani, 2015). The quality manager is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the fairness and objectiveness of the whole assessment process. A manager is involved in monitoring, determining and reporting assessments of quality to the quality assurance department. Finally, the support staff is responsible for assisting in the quality assurance process.
Relationships with other Departments
The quality assurance department relates with other sectors within a healthcare organization, namely, the administration, financial department, human resources department, and units providing patient care, for the purpose of providing quality improvement advices and procedures. Such advices can include the adjustment of patient care services in attempts to raise quality and reduce costs. As a result, the financial control department relies on the quality assurance department for vital information with regards to cost minimization and quality maximization (Eaton, 2012). Most importantly, the human resources department depends on the latter, especially, in the process of screening and recruitment in order to ensure that the personnel are qualified to perform actual tasks. Moreover, the quality assurance department relies on relevant information from other divisions in order to carry out their obligations (Lefresne et al., 2013). It would be impossible for the department to perform its activities effectively in case it fails to relate with other sectors within a healthcare organization correctly.
Trends in Quality Assurance
Recent increasing software developments have raised competition. It has also come along with trends in service evolution, testing as well as quality assurance. Most evidently, the latter ought to evolve with the changing times in order to maintain its level. Several trends in quality assurance have been noted, including test automation, constant increase in mobile and cloud applications, increased emphasis on security, context-enhanced testing, and a mobile platform use (Lester, Harr, Rishniw, & Pion, 2013).
Test automation has been included in quality assurance in order to enhance increased cost-effectiveness and a fast coverage of advancements. It has been noted that efficiency and effectiveness are the key aspects of the quality assurance department, hence there is the need to automate processes. Test automation has been adopted as a critical approach towards risk management in healthcare organizations (Wandersman, Chien, & Katz, 2012). The process enhances identification, assessment and assignment of priorities in attempts to mitigate risks’ impacts on organization’s operations and administration.
Another notable trend in quality assurance is a context-enhanced approach. The use of the latter in quality assurance has helped in improving the skills of the personnel involved in the department. It has been enabled by formal training along with on-job observations. It has also become evident that the most reliable quality testers will be having an arsenal of skills that are the most effective in several contexts. They ought to be the ones who can easily interpret relevant skills required in different departments.
Impact of the Trends on Education and Research in Healthcare
The two trends discussed in this paper are test automation and the context-driven approach to quality assurance. They have come along with benefits, but also have certain negative impacts, especially on healthcare.
Test automation has enhanced fast and cost-effective processes of quality assurance due to the fact that such testing can be done using computerized systems rather than the manual ones used in traditional settings (Wandersman, Chien, & Katz, 2012). Test automation has eventually increased and improved the standards of education and research in healthcare. Most importantly, it has enhanced improved risk management in healthcare by mitigating threats and negative impacts. In return, research in healthcare can be easy and fast. Drugs are effectively and efficiently tested using the automated processes, providing safeguards in terms of quality and safety to patients (Eaton, 2012). However, it has been indicated that test automation cannot fill the gap of manual testing approaches due to their agility and creativity. It has also been criticized of taking part of skills and competencies of the personnel in the department.
Context-driven quality assurance has played a huge role in improving education and research in healthcare. It enables testers to concentrate on one field of operation rather than on several. That way, output efficiency improves since there is a sense of specialization. In other words, research conducted by the personnel on one field before moving to another has assisted in an adequate delivery of quality services in the healthcare sector. However, that has not come without shortcomings (Lefresne et al., 2013). Context-driven testing has negatively affected on-the-job training since the staff responsible for it is required to concentrate on only a single context rather than several ones. As a result, they may not be at a position to interpret the skills required in other contexts.
Analysis and Capitalization of the Trends in Attempt to Mitigate their Negative Impact
It can be inferred that the trends in quality assurance have brought about benefits along with negative effects on healthcare education and research. As a healthcare administrator, it would be advisable to enhance the maximization of benefits from the trends. It would be wise to capitalize on proper planning, directing and coordinating of programs and policies of the quality assurance department. In that case, it will be vital to enhance a smooth process of documentation and policing by ensuring that up-to-date information is available. There is also a need to capitalize on the team of personnel encouraged by proper remunerations and supervision. Proper training will also be an advisable approach of enhancing a smooth running of the quality assurance department (Lefresne et al., 2013).
In attempts to mitigate the negative impact of these trends, it is necessary to create awareness of the need for changes, especially, in quality control and assurance. In connection with this, it would be wise to implement awareness programs and award initiatives within the department in order to eradicate the notion of underutilized skills due to test automation. Most importantly, constant engagement of teams will be effective in decreasing the negative effect of the context-driven assurance of quality (Arachchi, Chong, & Madhushani, 2015). It will ensure that there is a constant culture of quality improvement rather than focus on the negative side of specialization.
In conclusion, it is evident that quality assurance plays a huge role in healthcare education and research. It is a vital approach towards enhancing quality of services provided in the healthcare settings. Thus, it is important to ensure that the department relates with other departments that depend on it effectively. Most evidently, the personnel ranging from the medical transcriptionist to the support staff ought to have necessary skills and competencies in quality assurance. Moreover, several trends have been noted in the field, including test automation and context-driven quality assurance. As much as they bring advantages to the field of education and research in healthcare, they ought to be properly controlled, and their negative impacts should be mitigated.