Concept of Quality in Healthcare

The next step in audit is data collection (Gilmore,). In fact, data collection allows auditors to collect the information concerning the performance of healthcare organizations and healthcare professionals, which influences their performance and which may affect changes introduced by organizations and healthcare professionals to improve their performance. The more information auditors collect the more adequate their assessment of the performance of healthcare organizations and professionals is. In addition, healthcare organizations can use the collected information for their own benefits for they have an opportunity to introduce changes, which maximize their performance and the information collected by auditors can reveal actual or possible weaknesses and strengths of healthcare organizations.

Furthermore, the audit should compare performance with criteria and standards (Calman, 1992). If the difference between the set criteria and standards and the actual performance are identified, the healthcare organization should work to improve its performance and to meet existing norms and standards.

On identifying existing problems and setting standards, healthcare organizations should start implementing change on the ground of the information collected in the course of the audit (Lacey et al., 2000). In fact, changes have to be introduced in accordance to the standards and they should improve the overall performance of healthcare organizations and professionals.

At the same time, healthcare organizations should focus on sustaining improvements (Department of Health 1998). What is meant here is the fact that healthcare organizations should develop a long-run strategy of the improvement of its performance that focuses on the quality of healthcare services being delivered to patients.

Thus, quality is crucial in the contemporary healthcare setting. The audit helps healthcare organizations and professionals to identify existing problems and solve them. Therefore, healthcare organizations can improve their performance as they identify their problems and attempt to meet high quality standards.

 

References:

Calman, KC. Quality: a view from the centre. Quality in Health Care 1992;1(S)28–(S)33.

Department of Health. Working for Patients. Working Paper London: HMSO, 1989.

Department of Health. Terms and Conditions of Service of Hospital and Medical and Dental Staff. London: HMSO, 1997.

Department of Health. A First Class Service. Quality in the new NHS. HSC, 1998:33. London: HMSO, 1998.

Department of Health. Corporate Governance in NHS, Code of Conduct, Code of Accountability. London: HMSO, 1994.

Department of Health. Health Act 1999. London: HMSO, 1999.

Department of Health. Supporting doctors, protecting patients. London: HMSO, 1999.

General Medical Council. Revalidation – the profession moves forwards. GMC News 1999; Issue 5.

General Medical Council. Revalidating doctors: ensuring standards, securing the future. London: General Medical Council, 2000.

Gilmore, I. Clinical governance: what is it, what it isn’t, and what it should be. Hospital Medicine 2000, 61:51–53.

The Royal College of Pathologists. Clinical Audit in Pathology. London: The Royal College of Pathologists. 1997.

Lacey G, de, Godwin R and Manhire A (eds). Clinical Governance and Revalidation: a practical guide for radiologists. London: The Royal College of Radiologists, 2000