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McCauley , M. (2001 ). Continuous quality improvement initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital.

Recuperado de Ia base de datos de Centre for Asian Business Cases (HKU131) (018240)
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ntre for Asian Business Cases
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Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives
at Queen Mary Hospital
Drastic cuts in government funding coupled with rising healthcare costs in I 995 forced the
adoption or new management techniques in the healthcare industry in Hong Kong. A
management technique that had gained prominence in the United States from 1995 to 2000 in
the healthcare industry was continuous quality improvement, or CQI. Also in 1995, hospitals
in Hong Kong adopted CQI as a stra.tegy for change and for improving quality while
containing costs. Queen Mary Hospital (QMH), in particular, established a CQI Unit that
focused ent.ircly on improving the quality of its services to its patients. The CQI model that
the unit adopted followed the four steps of Focus, Analyse, Develop and Execute (FADE).
This model helped QMH to achieve the CQJ objectives in its project "Pre-Operative Skin
Preparation: Shaving and Pre-Operative Baths". The CQI Unit's intention was to administer
the same CQI model in other areas, one of which was the "Food Wastage
project. Would the same FADE model, the methodology, the approach and the success
factors in the implementation be applicable to this new CQI undertaking? What were the
critical CQ! characteristics that would contribute to a significant outcome in minimising food
wastage at QtvfH? A critical factor was how the CQI Unit should implement other changes
using CQl. How should the CQJ Unit respond to organisational resistance am] managing
professionals through change? The Unit also had to reckon with where and how to collect
data in determining areas for CQJ application. What were the key elements tbat had to be
considered to achieve co-operation and support of everyone at QMH, particularly the medical
professionals, who were recognised as critical decision-makers?
The Global Perspect ive of CQJ and the Concept of Quality in the
Healthcare Sector
CQI in healthcare was pioneered in the US, where, in 1996, there were as many as 80,000
deaths every year due to medical errors and negligence.' This prompted the US government
to initiate discussions on creating a Federal Agency of Patient Safety. The hcalthcare
profession around the world was beset with challenges and difficulties concerning patient care
and had to hold up under extreme pressure to change. The scrutiny from the outside
Brashier, L. W., ct a!., "lmplcmcntntion or TQMiCQI in the ll c:ollhcarc lndu.,try," 1Jenchnwrkin
/IJr Mlln11!:<'111<'111 &
Technolugy, I April, 1996.
Marissa McCauley prepared this co.<e under the strpcr>i<iun nf Dr. Simon S. K. Lam far cia.<.< di.<crts.rion. Tlois
case is not intended 10 .<haw e_ifecrive or inelfoctive lral)dling nfdecixinn nr business proces.<es.
n1is case is pari of a proju:l funded by a 1e.aclring development gram from 1h.- Uniwrsity Grcrnts Commill<'<'
(UGl) of Hong Kong.
100 I The Univcnit_v of Hong Kong. No port of this publico/ion may b!! n:produced or transmillcd ill
any .fonn or by any means - dectronic. mechnnic.al. photocopying, r<curdinfl. or othcmvise (including the lniernet)
- withuw permfsslnn ajn1e Hung Kong.
R<if. 00176C 15 August. 100 I
00176C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
environment focused on protracted and more frequent hospitalisation due to misdiagnoses,
substandard surgery, improper drug therapies and hospital-acquired ,infections. Other factors
that contributed to the decline in hospital care included the rising employee turnover rates, the
delegating of patient care to under-qualified and inexperienced staff, the increasing number of
lawsuits resulting from poor medical outcomes and other internal weaknesses driven by the
need to reduce hospital operating and administration costs due to decreasing annual budgets.
Quality management, some doctors believed, would have a significant role in minimising the
many problems associated with the medical field. There were certain important trends that
characterised the healthcare system that led to the development of the growing attention to
quality improvement:
The market became progressively more competitive. Healthcare insurers and providers
competed for market share based mainly on economic consideratiotlS and an expectation
of value for money.
Growth in the consumption of private health services. In an environment predominantly
characterised by the marketing of the need to have private medical insurance cover to
bridge the gap between basic public hospital care and the perceived benefits and fmancial
security of private care, the share of private services increased.
A market growth in consumers ' awareness of their rights, even in the area of healthcare
Many hospitals were under pressure from the hcalthcare indusli)' and were urged by the Joint
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations (JCAHO), an acc.rediting body that
was responsible for about 7,000 hospitals in the US, to change and improve their services.
This pressure compelled the hospitals to jump on the total quality management
(TQ\1)/continuous quality improvement (CQI) bandwagon. The JCAHO adopted the CQl
philosophy in the late 1980s. The medical field realised that something had to be done to
improve the delivery of health services to patients, and the initial step was to critically review
the processes involved. The JCAHO in its 1994 report stated it clearly:
It is a mistaken belief that patient outcomes are qffected solely by the
patient's severity of illness and the quality of direct hands-on care.... Most
opportunities for improvement reside in processes.
CQI has been described as:
A managerial philosophy that seeks to create organisation-wide participation
in examining. planning and implementing improvements in the quality of
services as defined by customers. J
A compreheJ!SiVe management philosophy that focuses on improvement by
applying scientific methods to gain knowledge and control over variation in
work processes!
CQI advocated certain procedures:
data collection and analysis to diagnose problems
a formulation of hypotheses for improvement
conducting of experiments and the collection and analysis of data about their results
Javetz, R. and St<m. Z., "Patients' Complaints os a Manosement Tool for Continuous Qu.11i1y lmprovemen<," Journal nf
MIJJwgemcn/111 Medldne. 1996. -
Javet7. R. and Stem, Z., 1996.
Kahan. B. and Goodsudt, M., "Continuous Qualily Impmvemenl and Health Promotion: Can CQI Lead to Better
Heulth Promuliun lntornuliunul. I March, 1999.
Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
revision of interventions based on such research
The importanct; of CQI in the medical field cannot be overemphasised, hospitals had yery
fragmented development processes, tJ-ie procedures involved were often too complicated, and
patients were complex individuals with their own unique needs and specific problems . .
The Healthcare Sector in Hong Kong
Hong Kong was considered to have one of the most advanced healthcare sectors in Asia.
had well-developed public sector healtbcare and offered very expensive private healthcare,
yet wrestled with probkms and oppommitics created by rising costs, new technology and
government policies. Private hospitals accounted for less than 15 per cent of the overall
services provided; the Hospital Authority (HA) controlled the remainder. A statutory body
established in December 1990, the HA took over from the Government the management and
operation of 46 public hospitals and a staff of 50,000 with a total budget of HK$20 billion.
The HA was responsible for providing a full range of secondary and tertiruy specialist care
and rehabilitation at prices set by the Government, and the Government guaranteed that no
one should be denied access to medical service for l:lck of funds. '
Hospitals in Hong Kong adopted and implemented CQI in the mid-1990s, despite the lack of
training and support to perform CQI. Each hospital implemented CQI either as a mandatory
undertaking, each unit was required to come up with a yearly CQI project, or bY.
creating a separate w1it to oversee the overall CQT implementation in the hospital based on the
spedfic needs of the different units.
The Queen Mary Hospital
Queen Mary Hospital opened in 1937, had I ,400 patient beds and a staff of over 4,000, and
provided a comprehensive range of services. QMH was the research centre and the primary
teaching hospital of The University of Hong Kong. Annual surgical admissions totalled
25,000 .
The Queen Mary Hospital specialised in:
Assisted Reproductive Programme
Bums and Reconstructive Surgery
Cancer Referral Management
Coronary Care
Lithotripter Service
Oral Maxillo-facial Surgery
Organ and Tissue Trmsplant
Paediatric Surgery
Renal Dialysis
Quality Management Organi sational Structure at QMH
The Quality Executive Committee (QEC) was in charge of the overall quality management of
the hospital [Figure 1). Under the QEC were two separate
Stone, E., -Kcmedics ror Hcallh Can:," Asiun Btwnr.u. April. 19'12.
Yeung. C., "Ch:lllenge to Streamline," South China Morning Post. 20 December. 1999.
Mal<. C .. "Healing HoOJ; Kong's Hospitals,"SecurityManagemtnJ, January, 1')97.
URL: hNp://www.ba.org.hklhesdfnsapildr ... , 25 Jwnwy. 2000.
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
Continuous Quality Improvement Unit. In 1994, the Quality Improvement Support Unit
and the Infection Control Unit were integrated a!\ one W1it, as they performed similar
functions. Referred to as the CQJ Unit, it facilitated the start-up seminar, education and
training in CQI, collection of data, identification of problem areas, priority projects and
implementation of quality improvement initiatives.
Clinical Audit Unit. At QMH, the Clinical Audit was separated from the CQJ Unit
mainly for reasons that auditors were often viewed with suspicion. The Clinical Audit's
main objective was to fulfi l all of the auditing mandate required by the administmtion.
On an annual basis, each unit was requi red to submit specific data that the Clinical Audit
analysed. Any problems identified were submitted to the CQJ Unit. The CQI Unit
facilitated the improvement required to address the problems.
Hospital Management
Quality Executive Committee
Clinical Audit Unit (CA)
Continuous Quality
Unit (CQI)
Quality Improvement Infection Control
Support Unit (QIS) Unit (IC)
Figure I : Quality Management Organisational Structur e at QMH
Dr. Seto and the CQI Team
Under the direction and guidance of Dr. Seto Wing Hong and Ms. Patricia Ching, QMH's
Head Nurse, the QMH CQl Unit was established in 1994. Their vision was to introduce CQl
throughout the hospital, such that CQI would be a continuous undertaking in streamlining all
the processes within the hospital.
Dr. Seto believed that CQT would help meet customer satisfaction in the medical field. The
medical field was complex, and, in most cases, the customer or the patient was not in a
position to evaluate quality. QMH defined quality based on the delivery of quality, not the
content quality. Content quality focused mainly on whether or not the operation was done
well, which the patient might not necessarily be able to judge. Content quality was evaluated
based on the peer review process. Delivery quality, on the other hand, focused mainly on
how content was delivered to the customer, or if the delivery met customers' expectations.
Here, the process of delivery was the focus of evaluation, something that CQI could help
address. If delivery of quality was important to a hospital, then there would be a need for
At the CQJ Unit, CQI was defined as a process of management that involved the participation
of everyone in the hospital, understanding the departmental fW1ctions, and streamlining the
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Initi atives at Queen Mary Hospital
complex processes involved with a view to delivering the utmost quality of service to the
hospital's internal and external customers.
As a consultant in Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Seto was also the
Chairman of Infection Control and Director of Quality Improvement. He was not a full-time
member of staff in the CQI Unit. Ms. Ching, on the other hand, was the head of both the
Quality Improvement Support Unit and the Infection Control Unit. Dr. Seto and Ms. Ching
were the only Asians in the entire Asia-Pacific region who had, in 1994/ 1995, received the
title Certified Professional in Health Care Quality, a qualification given by Certification
Board of the National Association for Health Care Quality in the US. On top of their main
responsibilities, both were actively involved in all of the CQI projects at QMH. In the US,
dedicated full-time staff certified professionals in healtheare implemented CQI. Dr Seto
In a sense, the hospital got our services at a discount; I am not paid.for doing
all this, it is gratis. The hospital's chief executive said I do it out of good
intentions driven by good ethics.
Hospitals in Asia generally considered quality management of secondary importance, and as
such the concept was not given priority and full-time attention, whilst in the US, it was
acknowledged as important, and most quality improvement initiatives were implemented by
full-time staff. Wncn quality was first introduced at QMH, support was weak.
It was considered more important to treat the patient and ensure his or her health, and not be
bothered by quality improvement and its associated outcomes-good or bad. According to
Dr. Seto, the meagre support for CQI at QMH was due mainly to the lack of awareness and
understanding of what CQI was. He added that it was not clear to many hospital personnel
that quality improvement requi red expertise and manpower.
The primary function of any hospital involved patient treatment; therefore it was crucial to get
doctors involved. Tile biggest problem in implementing CQI in hospitals was getting doctors
on board. were indifferent; many worked on their own and sometimes prefened to be
treated as prima donnas. There was a lack of interest in CQI and the concept was treated as
citing peng ('making cakes' in Cantonese) or not a big deal, by both physicians and nurses,
mainly because of the lack of training in CQI.
The hospital was also very territorial: there were all kinds of walls and barriers that had to be
broken down. The relationships in the hospital were complex-apart from the hospital
workforce, QMH al$0 had staff based at the Hong Kong University campus and in the
Hospital Authority offices. Each group within the QMH guarded their own autonomy. The
departments were neither venical nor horizontal in structure, and others were created out of
traditional practices.
Dr. Seto and Ms. Ching conducted training in healthcare quality and CQI because they were
certified and qualified. Jt was important that they possessed the necessary qualifications
because their credibility a.Jld capability in healthcare quality training was important to the
people they were training. Consultants and specialists from abroad were: also invited to some
of the training sessions. However, Dr. Seto and Ms. Ching conducted the majority of the
training sessions.
Dr. Seto attempted to introduce CQI by giving nwnerous lectures within QMH, only to be
met with He and Ms. Ching embarked on CQI projects that would provide
empirical evidence to the hospital workforce of the benefits of CQI and how it could be
implemented. CQI was first introduced into the process analysis for the Surgery and
Medicine units.

00176C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
FADE: A CQI conceptual model adopted by QMH
The CQl modd that the adopted FADE: Focus, Analyse, Develop and Execute.
FADE was the basic conceptual model, slightly modified however to suit the various CQI
initiatives (see Figure 2).
ldenti fy priorities Priorities identified through:
through process
Hospital Management & Auditing
yearly strategic plruming
Department workshops initiated by
the Quality Improvement Unit
Department initiatives
Fonn improvement
Fonn team

Introduce CQI to the team
CQ! Unit to suggest alternatives
Data collection by department to
validate problem and baseline
CQJ Unit interprets data
Set objectives
Establish guidelines and procedures
Solicit approval for the guidelines
Literature research tor back-up
Implementation of system changes
Implementation of
the CQI project
(about four to eight weeks) through
intensive education
Regular meetings with the team
Figure 2: FADE as the CQI Model Adopted at QMH
The team that the CQI committee created was expected to perform the following:
To initiate the quality improvement process, ensure its continuity and evaluate the
projects periodically
To rceonunend the fom1ation of Quality Action Teams ancl govern the number of tcruns
to be formed
To define guidelines and outline programmes, identify resources required necessary for
implementing quality improvement
To co-ordinate the activities involved in all Quality Action Teams
To provide project reports to ;til concerned
To infom1, educate and train all new hospit<tl employees in the quality improvement
To plan reward and recognition to teams for successful implementation of projects
In implementing CQl, the process followed was to:
1. ldentify priorities
oonsc Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
2. Fonn the improvement team
3. Provide project tem1s of refereqce
4. Implement project
Priorities were identified through several ways:
Hospital management- through the yearly audit and strategy planning.
Department workshops - mostly initiated and facil itated by the QIS Unit. Participation
was voluntary from the middle and top management level. Conducted on Saturday
morning, each workshop involved a start-up seminar that incorporated value formation,
discussion of the processes involved and the identification of problem areas. Normally
about seven to I 0 issues were identi fi ed based on the list of problems provided by the
departments. 1l1e prioritisation of issues was done by multi-voting and consensus
approval. The result was a quantitati ve value of each of the issues identified, after which
a final endorsement was provided to the QIS Unit. The CQI Unit conducted eight to 10
workshops involving 15 to 20 departments.
Department initiatives- people were encouraged to approach the CQI team about matters
concerning quality improvement. For example, a project initiated based on this approach
was the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points ( HACCP), proposed by tbe QMH
kitchen manager who had training in HACCP and was detem1ined to apply the concept in
his area of responsibility. The CQJ Unit was supportive of such initiatives because
HACCP a CQI W1dertaking. HACCP involved close analysis of the whole food
production cycle, finding critical points to monitor lor problems and fom1ulating
guideli nes to improve the process.
Fom1ation of the Quality Action tean1 occurred after the priorities had been identified. 1l1e
team was multidisciplinary, composed of , but not limited to, doctors, surgeons, nurses. ward
managers and the CQI team. The CQI team then introduced the CQ! concept and suggested
how best tu proceed. 1l1c Quality Action team also detcnnined the priority through
multi-voti ng. The department responsible for the project was requested to collect data, which
the CQI team collated and interpreted. The analysed data served as the baseline for the CQ!
project to be implemeoted. Procedures and guidelines, including the timeframc and plan of
action, were formulateu, and these were passed around to all the team members for review,
comment and approval. If necessary, the CQJ Unit also conducted liter.iturc research to back
up the Finally, the project was introduced and implemented accordi ngly. It took
about four to eight weeks betbre the project result was measured based on the initial baseline
collected. During this period, several meetings and discussions were conducted, which
provided critical feedback on the status of the project.
A CQI Project: "Pre-Operative Skin Preparation: Shaving and
Pre-Operative Baths"
Doctors in the medical field tend to be concerned with reference/researched data and, as a
rule, would never act arbitrarily. This was one of the reasons for the establishment in 1990 of
Evidencc-B;c;ed Medicine or EBM, a movement that advocated thorough researched data to
support doctors' work. Research fi ndings however took time before they could filter down to
the grassroots level, because the research had to be impl emented and studied again. 111is was
where CQI was best linked with EBM, because CQI' s strength was to and
an1algamate within the existing system and not to conduct research. [Refer to Figure 3 for
the diOe rcnt tools involved in EBM and CQI.)
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
Identification and selection of best Implementation and amalgamation
research findi ngs for patient care: within existing systems:
Literature research
.. .
Improvement teams
Medical research methods
CQI tools
Statistical process control (SPC)
Figure 3: Tools Involved In EBM and CQI
One of the first CQI projects was the "Pre-operative skin preparation: Shaving and pre-
operative baths". The skin preparation project implemented based on the EBM-CQI link.
At QMH, it was a standard operating procedure (SOP) to shave patients before surgery
regardless of where the patient was to be operated on. According to Dr. Seto, results of
studies in the 1970s showed that shaving traumatises the skin, possibly leading to a minor
infection. Bathing before surgery was not SOP at QMH, therefore patie:1ts scheduled for
operation had the choice to bathe or not before surgery. It was a standard procedure that
wounds and the area for operation were cleaned twice before surgery-in the ward before the
scheduled surgery and in the operating theatre. Dr. Seto said there was no research data that
proved cleaning a wound and the area for surgery twice lowers the infection rate. The proj ect
was identified because there were documented studies and research results dating back to the
1970s proving that in pre-operative skin preparation:
I . There was no need to shave unless the hair interferes with the area to be operated.
2. Bathing befo re an operation, rather than clea:'ling the operation area in the ward a day
before the surgery, lowered the infection rate.
[See Exhibit 1 for the medical references used in the identification of this project.]
Another reason this CQI was implemented was due to the high volume of surgeries
that the hospital performed: I ,000 surgeries a month or a total of about 12,000 every year.
This CQJ initiative would save the ho!t-pital resources such as nurses' time and sterile packs.
The main objective was to streamline skin preparation before surgery to ensure effective skin
decontamination and optimal usc of manpower (refer to Exhibit 2 for the specific clinical
procedure implemented in the pre-operative skin preparation in the ward). Using FADE as
the basic model, the CQI project was implemented (see Figure 4 for the application of the
FADE model in the pre-operative skin preparation project).
Implementing FADE
initiated by the Infection Control Unit (CQI sub-unit), the unit co-opted the assistance of s taff
who would form the multidisciplinary team of 14 members: the Professor of Gynaccolo!,'Y,
managers from all of the surgical wards, a surgeon each from the General Swgcry and
Orthopaedic Uni ts, and representatives from the fnfcction Control Unit, School of Nursing
and Control Supply Sterile Department (CSSD).
The CQJ Unit identified the gynaecology professor as the person most suited to lead the terun
because she was interested in CQJ and appreciated its objectives. Each member of the team
was given a copy of the literature review. on the project, which was used as documented
evidence that CQI could achieve the intended objecti ves.
, ....
Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives al Queen Mary Hospital
Process analysis to f----. identified issues:
identify problems
No shaving before surgery (unless
Bathing before surgery
Data collection to
Data collected and results:
validate problem
Patient survey on pre-opemtive
and form a bath: few patients were instructed to
bathe before opemtion
Actual usage of CSSD packs for
ward skin disinfection: ward skin
disinfection was a common practice
and CSSD (skin dressing) sets were
used for ward skin preparation
Establish ~ Recommended procedures:
All pre-op patients should have a
bath before surgery, preferably
using hibiscrub to ensure thorough
Avoid hair removal, unless there is
obvious obtrusion to the incision
As much as possible, hair removal
should be done by clipping or
depilation cream.
Proper skin disinfection is to be
done in the operating theatre, not in
the wards, before skin incision is
Implementation of ~ Intensive staff education:
the CQI project Eight lectures to nursing staff
Over 60% of all surgical nursing
staff attended
Train the trainer
System changes implemented:
A void prc-operati ve shaving
If possible use hair clipper
Discontinue ward skin disinfection
Educate patients to have pre-op bath
(provide written instructions)
Assure proper ward ski n preparation
by careful inspection
Incident report of inappropriate skin
preparation by OT staff
Figure 4: Application of t he CQI FADE Model in the
Pre-Operative Skin Preparation at QMH
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Ini tiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
The project involved all patients who had undergone general surgery. The project was both
patient- and process-oriented. A survey on education on bath among
surgical patients was conducted. Data on the number of skin dressing kits for pre-
operative and other skin preparation was also reviewed. The process analysis identified the
problems in the pre-operative skin preparation. [Refer to Exhibit 3 for the process analysis
used in identifying the problems and Exhibit 4 for the pre-operation skin preparation process
There were setbacks in the implementation:
Nurses in the Operating 111eatre. Major resistance came mainly from the nurses in the
Operating Theatre (OT). Their resistance was two-pronged: they doubted the validity of
the research results, and because they had been doing the same pre-operative skin
procedure for several years, they were uncomfortable with the changes being introduced
into the system. The CQI Unit addressed these issues through "peer pressure". This was
exerted on the OT nurses through the team leader, the professor of gynaecology, and
other doctors and surgeons on the Quality Team. The CQI Unit also created an Incident
Report form as a forum for the nurses to express their concerns regarding the project.
Physicians, specialists and Sllrgeons. Some were still sceptical about the recommended
procedures. In the first week of the project implementation, there were two minor
incidents of infection that alarmed the doctors and apparently caused further scepticism.
The CQT Unit immediately sent the literature review to the doctors to show that the
recommended procedures were based on properly documented researched studies, and
t!Jat it actually worked. The doctors were also em:ouraged to conduct the study
themselves for confirmation of the research results.
Munituring the project result. The wound infection mle was a way of monitoring the
project result, such that a zero per cent change in the rate meant that the project was a
success. However, using this as a monitoring device did not address the processes in the
wound infection rate. Therefore, the CQl Unit utilised data on the total nun1ber of S\..'in
Preparation Packs used in the hospital wards for prc-op skin preparation provided by the
Results of the Project
Because shaving was a standard procedure at QMH, I 00 per cent of the patients were shaved
before surgery. This meant a patient scheduled for an ankle operation had to be shaved.
Before implementation of the project, 13.7 per cent of the patients were told to take a bath
before surgery; post-protocol showed about 90 per cent were instructed to bathe before
Unit Pre-Protocol (November 1995) Post-Protocol (J anuarv 1996)
Initi ate<.l by Instructed by the Initiated by Instructed by the
_ll3ticnts hoSlical
Surgery 59% 6.9% 84% 73.7%
Obstetrics & Gynaecology 100% 55.6% 86% 85.7%
Orthopaedic 15% 0.0% 100% 100.0%
Total 55% 13.7 'Yo 93% 88.9%
Table 1: anti Pust-Prutucol Comparison of Patient 's Educaliun
in Bathing
Table 2 below showed a considerable number of skin preparation packs were used before the
CQJ project was introduced. TI1cre was a significant drop in the dressing kits used after the
00176C Continuous Quality Improvement Initi atives at Queen Mary Hospit
CQJ intervention in all the hospital units involved in the survey. For example, within a two-
week period, the Surgery Unit used 86 dressing pocks in cleaning WOWlds; post CQl
impl ementation, only 12 sets were used. TI1is meant the unit saved 74 dressin.g packs. It also
saved ward nurses' time and effort in cleaning wounds by simply requiring the patients to
bath a day before surgery.
Unit Number ofCSSD Dressing Sets Per Cent Chan(!e
Pre-Implementation Post-lmplcmcntation
Surgery 86 12 -86.0
Otthopaedic 33 8 -76.0
Gynaecology 24 5 -79.1
Private Ward 10 4 -60.0
Table 2: Comparison of Pre-lmpleruentatlon and Post-Implementation of Protocol of the
Dressing Sets Used for Pre-operation Skin Prcparutiun
The results of the project were:
1. Patient's pre-op bath increased from 55% to 93%
2. Patient's education increased from 13.7% to HR.9"/n
3. A total of 80,000 CSSD sets were saved for a year
4. Within a two-week petiod a net saving of 18 nurse-hours resulted from elimination of
woWld cleaning and shaving and instructing patients to bathe before swgery
5. There was no increase in the sw-gical woWld infection r&te afier the project was
CQI and its Impact on the QMH
The first CQJ project implemented was deemed successful, and this lead to the
implementation of 12 more projects, with 20 other projects in the pipeline yet to be
implemented. There was a significant cultural change that evolved during the proc..:ss of
adopting the CQ! concept at QMH. In 1994 and 1995, Dr. Seto and Ms. Ching approached
each department for constructive feedback. In early 1996, other Wlits indicated their interest
in CQ!; they initiated communication with the CQI Unit and discussed their concerns. In
addition, the hospital chief of service or the hospital administrator referred problems or
incidents to the CQl Unit, something that was not a customary practice at QMH.
Such was the positive response to CQI thar, in 1999, the CQJ Unit conducted a forum for the
Hospital Authority. About 400 people attended. The CQI Unit presented the four major areas
ofCQl projects conducted at QHM:
1. Enhanced support service - such as administrative service (e.g., how to deliver food in a
pleasing form), repair section (e.g., streamlining the number of forms needed to make a
request 1or repair) and ct1iciency in the delivery of basic hospital necessities (e.g., linens,
2. Elimination of w111ecessary processes/procedures in the ward. particularly those
entrenched traditional practices done for many years that had not been challenged (e.g.,
the pre-operative skin preparation project)
3. Improved outpatient service by providing convenience shops such as 7-1 1
4. Establishment of a cli nical practice guideline invol vi ng doctors - in the process analysis,
the tasks were classified into value-added and non-value-added. Non-value-added t . ' t . ~ k s
were abandoned if considered unnecessary (e.g. regular checking of body tcmpcnilurc,
urine screening and body weights, etc.).
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
The future of CQI at QMH
. .
The provision of good literature reviews to the physicians and other hospital staff was
instrumental in the creation of awareness about the CQl concept, but the results of the project
itself gave credence to the claims by the CQI Unit of the benefits of CQI. Moreover, the
classical CQI elements utilised in the project contributed to the successful implementation:
form a multidisciplinary team, build consensus, collect data to validate problems, plan the
system changes, implement the change and collect data to validate change.
Application of CQI: Food Wastage Minimisation
Tn addition to the clinical service standards that had to be met within the hospital, another
patient care service involved food preparation. Complaints received fiom patients were that
the food portions were either too big for female patients or too small for male patients, that
the food was either indigestible or too solid for elderly patients, and that the rice served was
In November 199R, the hospital conducted a survey about food wastage in all wards to
determine the concerns brought forward by the patients. Food wastage was defined as
leftover food from patients. Survey results showed that the total food wastage was about 228
kilograms a day, and that the percentage of food wastage against production was
approximately 23 per CCI\!.
It was also found that there was often an excessive amount of rice, consequently leading to
excess food The total amount of rice leftover was about 112 kilograms a day, and the
percentage against production was 28 percent. The amount of rice cooked in the kitchen
every day was the same regardless of the number of patients in the wards. The kitchen
equipment, including the rice cooker/steamer, had been in place for over 30 years; the size
was a problem.
It was also found that the ward staff had order and request food a:1d other proprietary products
from the Catering Services Unit through the Dietetics Department, and the food had to be
distributed by tbe main kitchen, resulting in an inefficient task process flow and other
associated problems.
The set objectives for this CQl project would be to reduce the amount of food wastage and
rice leftovers, and to strearnliJ1e the work process flow in the kitchen. Given all the above
critical CQI points and the application of CQI to the pre-operative skin preparation, how then
should the CQl Unit proceed in resolving food wastage and streamlining the process flow of
ordering in the kitchen?
The food preparation process was just one of the many projects that the CQI Unit intended to
implement. CQI as a tool for change and improving quality required co-operation and
support of the medical professionals and the whole of the QMH workforce. Other projects
involved other units, and therefore involved different processes and different people.
Resistance !Tom some groups would still be possible. The data required for each project also
meant the CQI Unit had to consider where and how to collect data to identify areas for CQI
application. The success of each CQI undertaking depended on a number of factors, one of
which was how the Unit would respond. to the different challenges and difficulties in
00f76C Continuous Qual ity Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
. .
References on ''No Shaving''
I. Seropian. R. and Reynolds, B. Ivl. (1971). "Wound infections after preoperative
depilatory versus razor preparation," American Journal Surgery ( 121 ), pp. 25 1-254.
2. Mishriki, S. F., Law, D. J. W., Jeffery, P. I. (1990). "Factors affecting the incidence of
postoperative wound infection," J Hosp Infect (16), pp. 223-230.
3. Hamilton, W. H., Lone, F. J. (1977). "Postoperative hair removal," Can J Surge1y (20),
pp. 269-275.
References on Pre-operative Bathing
l. Hayek, L. J., Emerson, J. M., Gardner, A.M. N. (1987) " A placebo-controlled trial of
the effect of two preoperative baths or showers with chlorhexidine detergent on post-
operative wound infection r.1te," J Hosp lnfec ( 10), pp. 165-172.
2. Garibaldi, R. A., Skolnick, D., Lerer, T. ( 1988). "The impact of preoperative skin
disinfection on preventing interoperative wound contamination," lnfeci Control Hosp.
Epidemol (9), pp. 109-113.
3. Rotter, M. L., Larson, S. 0., Cooke, E. M. (1988). "A comparison of the effect of
preoperative whole-body .bathing with detergent alone and with detergent containing
chlorhexidinc glucomate on the frequency of wound infections after clean surgery, " J
Hosp Infect (I 1 ), pp. 310-320.
Source: CQI Unit, Queen Mary Hospital
oonsc Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
Objective: To reduce bacterial skin colonisation before surgical procedure to prevent post-
operative surgical wound infection.
Pre-operative wash
Patients scheduled for surgical operation should have a bath before operation, preferably
using a cleansing solution with Chlorhexidine glucomate (CO).
For ambulant patients, provide a 25-millimetre CO scrub to use for the pre-operative bath.
Patients who will undergo laparoscopic or abdominal surgery should thoroughly clean the
operative site, annpits, perineal area and the umbilicus.
Bed-ridden patients, if possible, should also be bathed using CG before surgery.
During an emergency surgery, bathing should only be required when the patient's
hygienic condition is poor; e.g. a patient is contaminated with excretion and secretion or
If surgery is to be performed on an open traumatic wound, rather than a pre-operative
bath, clean the wound with sterile antisepiics such as nom1al saline and cover the wound
with sterile dressing before sending patients to the opemting theatre.
When there is active bleeding or pressure dressing has been applied to control bleeding,
do not perfom1 the existing operation site disinfecting.
If hair removal is indicated, require patients to bathe or take a bath after removal of hair.
Before sending patients to the operating theatre, ward nurses should ensure that pre-
operative skin preparations are done.
Pre-operative removal of hair
Remove hair only when it is obstructing the incision site.
Clip instead of shave hair. If shaving is required, use a depilatory crean1.
Clip pubic hair only for patients scheduled for lower alxlomen surgery. For Obstetrics
and Gynaecology Unit, avoid excessive clipping of pubic hair by using an electric razor.
Clipping should also be done 2 centimetres away fiom the symphysis pubis (pubic bones).
For neuro-surgery patients, clipping should be done by a barber whilst shaving should be
done by the surgeons in the operating theabe.
Pre-operative skin preparation for day surgery patient
Take a bath the night before coming to hospital for surgery.
The use of a soap or liquid soap is acceptable.
Thoroughly clean the following areas: perineum and w11bilicus.
Rinse thoroughly.
Put on clean clothing after bath.
Do not use any talcum powder or body lotion.
Inform nurse to check the operation site on admission.
Source: CQI Unit, Queen Mary Hospital
oonsc Continuous Quality lmproYement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
Ward disinfection of
incision site ()
Cover incision site with
sterile OT towel
Operation starts
# Identified inappropriate practice
* Identified redundant practice
Source: CQI llnit, Queen Mary Hospital
00/76C Continuous Quality Improvement Initiatives at Queen Mary Hospital
Skin disinfection in
operating theatre
Operation starts
Source: CQT Unit, Queen Mary Hospital