quality assurance


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quality assurance

 
in the health care field, a pledge to the public by those within the various health disciplines that they will work toward the goal of an optimal achievable degree of excellence in the services rendered to every patient. Since the 1960s there has been an increasing emphasis on the individual citizen's right to health and the obligation of individual members of the health care team to hold themselves accountable to the public for the caliber of care they provide.

A quality assurance program takes into account the need to define that which is to be measured. Quality assurance implies a clear understanding of what is meant by “quality” and a valid and reliable method for evaluating the care that is provided. (See also evaluation.) In the health care field, evaluation of practice operates within the parameters of outcome, cost-benefit, and access to the health care delivery system. Outcome represents a measurable change in the health/illness status of the patient that is the end result of the care the patient received. Cost-benefit refers to the expenditure of money, time, and effort in providing health care and the relationship this cost bears to the actual benefits to the recipient. Access to health care refers to its availability or the ease with which one can obtain the kind of health care one needs.

Implementation of a quality assurance program involves the development of criteria based on acceptable standards of care and norms of professional behavior. The norms are established by members of the profession who are expert in the care of specific patient populations. The health/illness criteria should be patient-centered: they must express in positive terms what it is a patient should be able to do as a direct result of the care received. For example, in the area of nursing care, an elderly patient with “night incontinence” should remain dry throughout the night as a result of an individualized bladder training program, or a patient who is bedridden should be able to maintain joint motion as a result of a daily range-of-motion exercise program.

The development of outcome criteria is an essential first step in a quality assurance program. The criteria are then used as the “yardstick” against which actual practice and its results can be evaluated. Evaluation is conducted by a review committee, preferably one composed of practitioners in the area of health care being evaluated. A retrospective review measures actual documented outcomes against desirable and valued outcomes. Data for documentation of actual outcomes are obtained from the medical records of a specific patient population after the patients have been discharged. A concurrent review evaluates patient care while it is in progress. Documentation of the caliber of care being delivered is obtained through review of the patient's chart, interview, observation, and examination of the patient. The advantage of concurrent review is that it can provide opportunities for improvement of patient care while it is in progress.

The ultimate goal of both retrospective and concurrent review is improvement of patient care. If, at the time of review, a deficiency is detected in either the health care process or the health/illness status of the patient, an effort is made to correct the difference between “what should be” and “what actually is.” It is this promise to evaluate thoroughly and to employ the results of the evaluation for continuous improvement of patient care that is the essence of quality assurance.

qual·i·ty as·sur·ance

(kwahl'i-tē a-shūr'ănts),
Programs of regular assessment of medical and nursing activities to evaluate the quality of medical care.

quality assurance

n.
A system for evaluating performance, as in the delivery of services or the quality of products provided to consumers, customers, or patients.

quality assurance

EBM
In clinical trials, the constellation of planned and systematic activities established to ensure that the trial is performed and the data are generated, recorded and reported in compliance with good clinical practice and applicable regulatory requirements.

quality assurance

Managed care The constellation of activities and programs intended to assure a high quality of care in a defined medical setting; the assessment of delivery of healthcare by managed care plans; the NCQA is a key agency in evaluating performance of managed care plans Mechanisms of QA Peer review, utilization review–identify and remedy deficiencies in quality. See National Committee for Quality Assurance, Peer review organization. Cf Quality control.

qual·i·ty as·sur·ance

(QA) (kwahl'i-tē ă-shŭr'ĕns)
An institutional program designed to assess the success of the total organization in achieving its goals and to ensure that quality standards are met.
See also: quality control

qual·i·ty as·sur·ance

(QA) (kwahl'i-tē ă-shŭr'ĕns)
An institutional program designed to assess the success of the total organization in achieving its goals and to ensure that quality standards are met.
See also: quality control
References in periodicals archive ?
Idris said that the training would be conducted in all the remaining zones to bring all quality assurance officers on the same page.
On the occasion the resource person and deputy director of quality assurance of Agriculture University Peshawar Muhammad Bilal said that without quality assurance survival in higher education sector was not possible in the current time.
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Key Words: Quality assurance Higher education Standards
The pressure from both international competition and public accountability on universities will continue to increase the importance of university ranking (UR) and university quality assurance (UQA).
Dr Achim Hopbach, the managing director of the German Accreditation Council and president of European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Dr Saad Said A.
KARACHI -- To create awareness about the importance of quality assurance in higher education among the hierarchy of DUHS and to develop an understanding and take feedback about self assessment procedures as defined by Higher Education Commission, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) organized a Seminar on "Quality Assurance in Higher Education" recently.

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