Quality Improvement in Health Care Programs

Method / Supply Chain and Quality

Quality Improvement in Health Care Programs
Suleiman C. Muttani , Consultant, Tanzania

Using 5S for improving Work environment and HealthWISE for Improving working condition and work place safety.

HealthWISE is a quality improvement concept recently applied in health care.
Initially was known as WISE (i.e. Work Improvement in small entreprises).
This quality Method was developed by its pioneer, Mr Vittorio Di Martino 1999 under the auspices of International Labour Organization (over twenty years ago).
WISE was first being used in production industry. It was until 2009, when the WISE concept was extended to cover the health care and was renamed HealthWISE ( or WISE-R).
In its more than twenty years history, WISE has proved to be effective, easily adapted to different cultural and operational circumstances.
HealthWISE presents a technical package, consisting of an action manual and a trainer’s guides to be applied in health care.
The success of the WISE methodology is based on 6 principles:
  1. Build on local practices
  2. Focus on achievements
  3. Link working conditions to management goals
  4. Use learning-by-doing
  5. Encourage the exchange of experience
  6. Promote worker involvement

The core WISE modules cover the following subjects:
  • Materials storage and handling
  • Workstation design
  • Machine safety
  • Control of hazardous substances
  • Lighting
  • Work-related welfare facilities
  • Work premises
  • Work organization

More recently (2009), under the acronym WISE-R, six new modules have been developed. They cover the six topics of:
  • Understanding productivity
  • Managing and motivating workers
  • Designing and managing working time
  • Managing wages and benefits
  • Family-friendly measures
  • Creating a respectful workplace (addressing stigma, discrimination and harassment at work places)

Having the quality concept of 5S and Health-WISE compared, I have the opinion that when the two methods are integrated this can bring better results than being practiced by themselves; this is because 5S - while concentrating first on improving physical environment - Health-wise covers the working condition of a worker as well.
I have also observed that the two concepts have a different approach but with results which are close to one another. Comments are welcome.

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