An Integrated Quality Management System for Healthcare

Els Jonker1, *, Chantal Koopman2, Natascha van der Nagel1, Marianne Schoorl3
1 Quality Department, Northwest Clinics, Alkmaar, The Netherlands
2 Heart and Lung Department, Northwest Clinics, Alkmaar, The Netherlands
3 Department of Clinical Chemistry, Haematology & Immunology, Northwest Clinics, Alkmaar, The Netherlands

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Creative Commons License
© 2017 Jonker et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Quality Department, Northwest Clinics, Wilhelminalaan 12, 1815 JD Alkmaar, The Netherlands; Tel: 0031 72 548 2316; E-mail:



A hospital organization with multiple locations and departments is a dynamic organization, which has to deal with a large number of internal and external factors. For the purpose of providing good quality and an effective and efficient patient care, tailored to the actual needs of patients, the focus must be on continuous quality improvement. Therefore, a smart and transparent quality management system for employees and stakeholders is necessary, which is widely accepted in the organization.


To realize structure, coherence and easy accessibility of information about ambitions, results, developments and regulations, the Northwest Clinics (The Netherlands) implemented an integrated quality management system, called Northwest: How we Work, including The House with Achievement books and the Improve 2.0 App.


The House with Achievement books is an instrument for employees, staff and managers to document all agreements that are essential for optimal patient care and management. The House demonstrates what you do and the Achievement books how you do in your department. In addition, the Improve 2.0 App with a digital tracking system to register points for improvement has been implemented to achieve structure, transparency and coherence in the multiple lists with action points.

Employees participate in quality groups to understand the necessity and usefulness of an integrated quality management system, to realize acceptance and to contribute to an environment of continuous improvement.


It is concluded that an integrated quality management system meets the criteria of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle and a LEAN approach for continuous improvement of quality in patient care and organization development. In addition, the system contributes to a more result-oriented organization.

Keywords: Quality management system, Continuous improvement initiatives, PDCA, LEAN, Traceability of improvement actions, Wide acceptance of employees, Digital tracking system, Toolbox for quality management.