Quality challenges

UZ Leuven’s social role as an academic medical centre is to provide a combination of specialised patient care, training for care providers and translational research – based on its link with K.U.Leuven.

UZ Leuven is constantly striving further to develop its position as one of Europe’s leading academic centres.

Delivering systematic quality

Safeguarding quality cannot be left to chance. Especially in an extremely complex organisation like UZ Leuven, care quality and the safety of patients and care providers are dependent on the efficiency of care processes. The risk of error can only be eliminated or minimised if there is a systematic way of working which ensures that the high quality of care is rarely if ever jeopardised. Only the best possible method is acceptable – for every patient who is treated.

A human task

Building and continuously improving a quality system is a human task. Designing and maintaining a watertight quality system does not happen of its own accord: it is the result of determined effort by everyone who works at UZ Leuven. The outstanding quality care that UZ Leuven aspires to provide is only achievable if every employee is passionate about seeking working methods which are more effective and reduce the risk of error. Critical reflection, eagerness to learn, and seeking to identify and being open to changes are all crucial elements of a philosophy and culture of quality.

Learning from mistakes

Learning from mistakes: ‘no blame’ as a characteristic of quality culture. One element of quality culture is that mistakes do not simply lead to a knee-jerk negative assessment and a reprimand for the employee: above all, they give rise to a critical examination of the way of working, ‘the system’. Where is the weakness in the current way of doing things that has led to things repeatedly going wrong at precisely that point, and to people easily making mistakes? Is it not possible to arrange our care process in such a way as to substantially reduce – or, better still, completely eliminate – the chance of mistakes? Thus mistakes become a golden opportunity to ask questions about the current way of working and together consider ways of refining the care process. This reduces the chance of the mistake being repeated and safeguards care quality and patient safety more effectively.

This philosophy is also strongly supported by a JCI accreditation process. The JCI standards help with the ongoing efforts to ensure a safe, high-quality environment for patients, visitors and personnel.