Quality Management in Hospital Departments : Empirical Studies of Organisational Models

Abstract: The general aim of this thesis was to empirically explore the organisational characteristics of quality systems of hospital departments, to develop and empirically test models for the organisation and implementation of quality systems, and to discuss the clinical implications of the findings. Data were collected from hospital departments through interviews (n=19) and a nation-wide survey (n=386). The interviews were analysed thematically and organisational models were developed. Relationships among aspects of organisation and implementation were hypothesised and analysed with structural equation modelling. The result was a new framework with three organisational aspects of quality systems each with two sub-aspects: structure (resources and administration), process (culture and cooperation), and outcome (evaluation of goal achievement and development of competence). Strong positive relationships were confirmed among structure, process, and outcome. Quality systems could therefore be classified into three organisational degrees. For instance, quality systems of high organisational degree often had adequate resources and administration as well as positive organisational cultures and high cooperation among different professions. Advanced designs required quality systems of high organisational degrees. Examples of such designs were coordination between departments, random check ups, and accreditation. The organisationally demanding quality systems had been implemented through cooperative implementation, that is, directed by managers while at the same time giving opportunities for staff to participate in planning and designing. The results can be useful to managers, quality coordinators, and clinicians when they describe, develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of quality systems in hospital departments.