Definition of Quality in Healthcare
Over the years, health policymakers have sought to define what is meant by quality. The quality of health care services is motivated by several reasons, ranging from providing a public good to the expected patient outcome. Quality at the international level refers to achieving Sustainable Development Goals such as availability of medicine to all, universal health coverages or financial risk protection. According to Busse et al. (2019), quality is the propensity to attain desirable goals. This particular definition is, however, not relevant to healthcare but broadly refers to all sectors. Additionally, Busse offers a description specific to health, claiming that quality is utmost care that is all-inclusive of the patient’s well-being after deducting any losses or gains expected from the process of care. On the other hand, the Institute of Medicine defines quality as the degree to which healthcare services increase desired results.
Dimensions of Quality
Over time different agencies have widely researched the health sector’s quality expectations, drafting the quality dimensions. There are six dimensions of quality: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity. These dimensions seek to incorporate what health quality should include ensuring that patients receive maximum care. Health services should be safe, ensuring that the patient’s illness is not added somewhat reduced. More so, effectiveness means ensuring that science and care are matched while avoiding overuse or underuse of drugs. Health care requires to be patient-centred, where they have control of their well-being. Additionally, health care systems should offer timely services by avoiding unnecessary delays and efficiently by preventing waste. Lastly, patient care requires to get accorded equitable without any biasness or favouritism. All patients have equal rights to quality healthcare.
Similarity and Differences
Based on the several definitions of healthcare, there are some similarities in what patients consider to be the best care. For instance, patients expect to receive healthcare services that are safe, effective, timely and personal tailored. Additionally, patients prefer to get treatment from qualified medical practitioners to comprehend the information. One of the differences is that patients want to achieve a good quality of life after treatment, which will ensure that they are active members of society when living with a chronic disease. More so, patients expect to collaborate with the professional’s beings as an equal partner. According to the Europeans Patient Forum (2016), some quality aspects were of more importance, such as some positive attitude from healthcare workers, accurate diagnosis, clinically effective treatment and safe medical practices. Medical services should be available to all patients according to need and not means.
On the other hand, regulatory agencies that formulate rules and regulations that govern health care systems and services have some similarities. For instance, the Federal Food and Drug Agency in the US ensures that products in the market, such as drugs, are safe for human consumption and treatment. Additionally, the Center for Disease and Control protects health and promotes quality of life, which is in line with the quality dimensions discussed (Desveaux et al., 2017). ThroPhysicians hospitals are under tremendous scrutiny from several regulators to ensure that healthcare services are upheld. For instance, all medical facilities are registered and accredited. Frequent audits of the hospitals are conducted to confirm the quality level and make necessary recommendations for improvement. Physicians are regulated by the licensure boards, where they submit certain information regularly. When a physician is not conducting their services accordingly, he or she gets discredited. Regulators are more concerned with the implementation and maintenance of quality healthcare services.
Busse, R., Klazinga, N., Panteli, D., Quentin, W., & World Health Organization. (2019). Improving healthcare quality in Europe: Characteristics, effectiveness and implementation of different strategies. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549277/
Desveaux, L., Mitchell, J. I., Shaw, J., & Ivers, N. M. (2017). Understanding the impact of accreditation on quality in healthcare: a grounded theory approach. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 29(7), 941-947. https://doi.org/10.1093/intqhc/mzx136
European Patients Forum. (2017) Patients Perceptions of Quality in Healthcare. Report of a survey conducted by EPF in 2016 https://www.eu-patient.eu/globalassets/policy/quality-of-care/quality-survey-report.pdf