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Quality at IHS

The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) to the highest level. Quality of care is an agency priority, and IHS is committed to continuing its efforts to assure a high-performing health care delivery system for AI/AN people.

In November 2016, the IHS launched 2016-2017 Quality Framework to strengthen the quality of care. The framework is strengthening organizational capacity to improve IHS’ ability to meet and maintain accreditation of IHS direct service facilities, align service delivery processes to improve the patient experience, ensure patient safety, and improve processes and strengthen communications for early identification of risks. The framework will be reviewed and updated annually.

Since the framework was released, IHS quality improvement efforts include:

  • Awarding a master contract for accreditation of hospitals
  • Acquiring a credentialing software system
  • Developing a quality assurance accountability dashboard
  • Establishing patient wait time standards for primary and urgent care settings
  • Developing a standard patient experience of care survey and an implementation strategy using electronic tablets
  • Implementing Emergency Department (ED) telehealth consultation in the IHS Great Plains and Billings Areas