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Crossing Borders, Cultures and Business Models – by Kristi Groves

 The importance of standardization in healthcare

Kristi Groves discusses how she developed an appreciation for standardization or limiting variation in healthcare practices through her work overseas for the Department of Defense as a nurse and nurse leader. 

 Spending several years working overseas for the Department of Defense as a nurse and nurse leader, and learning quality for healthcare, I developed a new appreciation for standardization or limiting variation in healthcare practices—in business and clinical settings.

This appreciation stemmed from the vastness of the healthcare system I worked for and the international bodies that governed some of our practices while overseas. My interest in standardization was not only for my professional role as a nurse, but also for the patients I cared for.

 As I’ve continued gathering nursing and quality experience back in the United States, I still find value in standardization and limiting variation in any healthcare system process. That’s the result of my learning more about the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the ISO 9001 standard for quality management systems, which is used in healthcare organizations and businesses alike.

 I began learning about ISO while managing clinical settings in Europe and Asia. This began in the world of environmental management practices related to ISO 14001; we knew it affectionately as the Global Environmental Management System program. Moving from continent to continent was smoother in one area that affected clinical life—the area of environmental management—because of the adoption of an international standard.

 ISO 14001 reminded the clinical professional side of me of evidence-based practice. Like evidence-based practice, ISO 14001 offers proven methods to enhance standardization and limit negative impacts, although in ways other than in direct patient care. I soon learned the ISO 14001 standard was truly global as I transferred from Europe to Asia and then back to the United States. I witnessed that the ISO 14001 standard also crossed borders, cultures and different business models easily and effectively.

ASQ Healthcare Update, published in collaboration with the ASQ Healthcare Division March 2012



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