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Managing the Quality of Health Care

JHHSA, Vol. 25 No. 3, (2002)

This article reviews quality of health care initiatives beginning with the quality assessment/quality assurance movement of the 1970s. Conceptually, modern quality of care management is rooted in the intellectual work of Avedis Donabedian who defined quality of care as a combination of structure, process, and outcome. Donabedian's model is presented and some limitations are pointed out. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the health care industry adopted total quality management (TQM). More recently, the pursuit of health care quality has led to substantial performance measurement initiatives such as ORYX by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Oranizations and MEDIS by the National Commission of Quality Assurance. The importance of CONQUEST, a freely available performance measurement database developed at the Harvard School of Public Health, is noted and discussed. The article concludes with a list of challenges facing public and private parties interests in health care quality improvement.

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