Definition of quality health care

Written by denise stern
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Everyone wants quality services, whether it's for auto service, repairs or health care. Quality health care is a measurement of the health care received at your doctor or dentist's office, your local emergency room or during a hospital stay. Quality goes way beyond the manners or attitude of health care providers. Quality health care encompasses all aspects of both traditional therapies and protocols to Human Resources development.

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Definition

Quality health care can be more exactly described as striving for and reaching excellent standards of care. It involves assessing the appropriateness of medical tests and treatments and measures to continually improve personal health care in all fields of medicine, from the aides that help you eat to the surgeon who removes a tumour from your brain.

Features of Quality Health Care

Some of the aspects involved in providing quality health care in any number of facilities include accrediting or approving physicians, offices, hospitals or other health care providers. This is achieved through accreditation or inspection standards that ensure that proper procedures and staffing ratios are met. It also ensures that medical records are continuously reviewed in order to assess the effectiveness of treatments or procedures. Improving patient care is the driving force behind standards and regulations in quality health care, and is now known as performance improvement.

Accrediting Bodies

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) inspects medical care providers to make sure they're offering quality and reliable services and facilities and specific standards are met. They make sure there is accountability in health care scenarios and excellence in customer service is provided. The committee also helps to create and define ways to improve methods of health care for customers and providers. Another health care industry advisory board is called the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Quality Standards

Standards of quality for accrediting institutions in the health care industry are grouped into categories. These categories of health plan systems include Access and Service, Staying Healthy, Getting Better, Qualified Providers and Living with an Illness. Standards and protocols found within each major heading cover most care scenarios. These standards also provide health care personnel as well as institution guidelines for minimum standards of care that must be followed for accreditation.

Types of Accreditation

Long-term care facilities, hospitals, outpatient clinics and health care providers---from ambulance services to home health nursing offices---must follow standards of care to be accredited and receive reimbursement for services from Medicaid or Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) devises and defines most of the laws, regulations and standards for care. Acute care hospitals are required to follow somewhat different guidelines than an ambulance service in order to be certified, but all strive to offer quality care and patient safety regardless of circumstance or scenario. That's the basis of quality of health care: a standard of excellence, patient safety, risk management as well as continually striving to improve techniques, procedures and methods involved in every aspect of health care.

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