A comprehensive approach to quality management of intensive care services

Seetharaman Hariharan, Prasanta K. Dey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive framework for improving intensive care unit performance.
Design/methodology/approach – The study introduces a quality management framework by combining cause and effect diagram and logical framework. An intensive care unit was identified for the study on the basis of its performance. The reasons for not achieving the desired performance were identified using a cause and effect diagram with the stakeholder involvement. A logical framework was developed using information from the cause and effect diagram and a detailed project plan was developed. The improvement projects were implemented and evaluated.
Findings – Stakeholders identified various intensive care unit issues. Managerial performance, organizational processes and insufficient staff were considered major issues. A logical framework was developed to plan an improvement project to resolve issues raised by clinicians and patients. Improved infrastructure, state-of-the-art equipment, well maintained facilities, IT-based communication, motivated doctors, nurses and support staff, improved patient care and improved drug availability were considered the main project outputs for improving performance. The proposed framework is currently being used as a continuous quality improvement tool, providing a planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating framework for the quality improvement measures on a sustainable basis.
Practical implications – The combined cause and effect diagram and logical framework analysis is a novel and effective approach to improving intensive care performance. Similar approaches could be adopted in any intensive care unit.
Originality/value – The paper focuses on a uniform model that can be applied to most intensive care units.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality assurance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1858161.Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • health services
  • hospitals
  • quality management
  • performance management
  • Barbados


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