Total Quality Management (TQM) - a jigsaw puzzle with nine pieces

At the time of its founding in 1974, the German Heart Centre Munich was the first heart centre in Germany. Since then, a lot of heart centres have followed in its footsteps.

The German Heart Centre has a tradition of excellence

Since 1974, the overriding goal of the hospital management of the German Heart Centre Munich has been to provide outstanding medical care. As internationally recognised specialists, they motivate staff members by giving them the opportunity to deliver high quality medical care to chronically ill patients in a first-rate hospital. All are united in their commitment to lower sickness and mortality rates in patients suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Quality assurance plays an integral role in the medical and nursing profession.

However, advances in medicine and medical technology, the complexity of the hospital institution in which successful medical treatment is the outcome of many interconnected steps, and increasing economic pressure in the field of health care call for even more effort:

Quality management is a key concept in the health care system.

Unlike many other countries, quality control and certified medical quality were not compulsory in Germany for a long time. So the German Heart Centre Munich often took the initiative itself. Their introduction of systematic quality assurance and extensive quality management was pioneering.

  • The German Heart Centre Munich together with four other clinics played a significant role in the development of quality assurance in the field of heart surgery. In 1986 the German Society of Cardiovascular Surgery (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herz- und Gefäßchirurgie) set up a commission, of which the Heart Centre was a member from the very beginning, to devise quality assurance measures. The pilot study QUADRA was conducted between 1986 and 1990, and was sponsored by the German Ministry of Research and Technology (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit). Today, all hospitals in Germany specialising in heart surgery participate in this quality assurance. In the mid-nineties, the German Heart Centre Munich was one of the first hospitals to take part in the project for "Quality assurance in paediatric cardiology".
  • In 1999 the German Heart Centre competed for the Ludwig-Erhard Prize, the German award for first-rate entrepreneurial performance promoting extensive analysis of the principles of quality management. The German Heart Centre was honoured as an exemplary organisation and paragon for all social service facilities.

Quality management, Total Quality Management (TQM) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM model) are specific tools that constantly challenge us to excellence. It is like a jigsaw puzzle with nine pieces.

A jigsaw puzzle with nine pieces

1. We critically analyse our principles of leadership. A patriarchal style of leadership no longer meets the requirements of a modern heart centre.

2. We realize that there are heart centres other than ours. We have no reason to fear transparency or competition and we are always happy to provide proof of the quality of our work.

3. Ongoing training of staff is crucial in a state of the art facility. Staff should also be competent in handling medical equipment.

4. National and international cooperation in health care, research as well as management is important for us. We are happy to impart knowledge while also learning from our partners.

5. Diagnosis and treatment for the well-being of the patient are more than the sum of their individual steps. We constantly endeavour to improve this process.

6. In addition to successful medical treatment, the opinion of our patients and our referring physicians as well as the cooperation with self-help organisations is very important to us. Questionnaires and our Complaint management help us to systematically assess client satisfaction on a regular basis.

7. The satisfaction of our patients is also dependent upon the satisfaction of our staff members. Not only for this reason, we strive to provide optimal working conditions.

8. We are successful in our role of providing state of the art medical care to patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Patient safety is a focus of our daily work. We therefore consider it fitting for the public to be made aware of this.

9. For more than 40 years, excellent medical and scientific achievements have been a matter of course for us. We wish to continue to provide such or even better results while also observing the principles of economy and thriftiness.