HCM 735 FALL 2017
QUALITY OF CARE
Quality is a characteristic that is desired in all processes, systems, goods, and services. No one desires a system or process that creates more work and takes more time for similar results. No one desires an inferior automobile, kitchen appliance, or electronic device. No one desires a poorly executed plumbing repair, a bad haircut, or a mishandled banking transaction. Quality, especially high quality, is desired throughout all aspects of life. High-quality health care is also desired. Without high-quality health care, patients remain ill, injured, or disabled. Their longevity, health status, quality of life, and morbidity are affected adversely. Individuals can die because of poor quality health care.
WHAT IS QUALITY HEALTH CARE?
High-quality health care consists of six dimensions. Safety, the first dimension, ensures that the treatment given or performed does not harm the patient. Safety also refers to the environment in which the care is delivered. To ensure safety, systems that mitigate risk should be in place and monitored for effectiveness, and the organization should nurture a culture of safety.
Effectiveness is the second dimension and measures how well a treatment is carried out versus how well the treatment was designed. The gap between the intention of the design and the skill with which the treatment was executed determines the effectiveness of the treatment. To improve effectiveness, either the design of the treatment or the skill of the provider must be improved.
Equity, the third dimension of quality, refers to fairness. In healthcare, all patients should be treated equally regardless of their race, age, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, education level, or health status. All individuals have a right to quality care.
Efficiency, the fourth dimension, explores sources of waste. Waste can refer to time, resources, duplication of services, or poor systems design. Waste of any kind does not add any benefit to care and is a driving factor in excessive healthcare expenditures. In healthcare, efficiency can be measured as the achievement of the best possible patient outcome by spending the fewest amount of money.
Timeliness, the fifth dimension of quality care, is comprised of two parts. Access, the first factor of timeliness, is the ability of the patient to utilize healthcare services. Barriers to healthcare service are geographic, financial, sociocultural, temporal or physical. Many laws have been enacted to overcome barriers to healthcare services. System responsiveness is the second factor of timeliness and measures how quickly a provider can treat the patient. Time delays can result in adverse patient outcomes.
Patient-centeredness is the sixth dimension of quality care. Care should revolve around the patient, not the provider. Patient-centered healthcare services should be aligned with the patient’s goals, values, and beliefs. ...