What is Quality Healthcare?

"The degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge." (Institute of Medicine)

Six Aims for Improvement

In response to these challenges, the Institute of Medicine has established six aims for improvement. Health care should be:

  1. Safe: avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
  2. Effective: providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit (avoiding underuse and overuse).
  3. Patient-centered: providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values and ensuring that patients' values guide all clinical decisions.
  4. Timely: reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
  5. Efficient: avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas and energy.
  6. Equitable: providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socio-economic status.

(Excerpt: Crossing The Quality Chasm, A New Health System for the 21st Century, Institute of Medicine, 2001, National Academy of Sciences.)

What is Patient Safety?

Patient Safety has been defined as a patient's "freedom from accidental injury when interacting in any way with the healthcare system."