According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “quality of care is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes.” When it comes to quality in the context of healthcare, we are talking about achieving optimal health for all. You can refer to http://www.officite.com/general-medicine/ to read about general medicine websites that will help your practice thrive.
We must consider the quality of healthcare services that are accessible to us. Quality healthcare can be defined in many ways but the World Health Organization (WHO) describes it to be:
- Safe: avoiding inflicting harm to people for whom the care is intended
- People-centered: providing care that responds to individual preferences, needs, and values.
Healthcare spans many services – consultations, tests, diagnosis, confinement, treatment, the list goes on. Standards are set in place to ensure that healthcare providers, staff, and physicians all over the world are committed and able to provide high-quality healthcare.
With that, quality healthcare should be carried out through proper means and ways. To achieve its full benefits, health services should be:
- Timely: reduce waiting times and potentially harmful delays towards the patient
- Equitable: providing care that does not vary in quality depending on gender, ethnicity, geographic location, socio-economic status
- Integrated: the full range of health services are available and provided all throughout
- Efficient: the services must maximize the benefit of available resources and avoid waste.
Why Is Quality Healthcare Important?
No matter what country you are in, quality healthcare is a right for all. Annually there are 5.7 to 8.4 million deaths due to poor quality healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. These deaths make up about 15% of overall deaths, globally, every single year!
Besides poor quality care, some deaths in these countries result from the non-utilization of the health system. There is an inadequate quality of care among their populations.
Meanwhile, in high-income countries, it is estimated that 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. 7 in every 100 hospitalized patients can expect to acquire a healthcare-association infection (such as hospital-acquired pneumonia for patients who are confined in a hospital for over a week or so).
High-quality health systems can prevent millions of deaths and uplift the quality of life for many communities all over the world. Quality of care spans promotion, prevention, treatment, and even rehabilitation. Over the years quality of care should be continuously improved through evidence-based care that takes into consideration the needs and preferences of those involved – healthcare workers, staff, patients, and their families.
Provision of quality services requires good systems in place. This includes proper governance, a skilled and competent health workforce, efficient financing mechanisms and information systems, accessible medicines, devices, technologies, and facilities. The list goes on because providing quality healthcare takes a lot of money and work. While achieving and providing quality health care is difficult, it is central to uplifting our quality of life.