Measuring the Quality of Health Care

Published in: The National Roundtable on Health Care Quality / edited by M. S. Donaldson (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999)

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1998

by Mark R. Chassin, Robert S. Galvin, Kathleen O Angel, Marcia Angell, Robert A Berenson, Robert H. Brook, Ezra C, Jr Davidson, Arnold M. Epstein, Clifton Gaus, Charlene Harrington, John K Iglehart, Brent James, Stephen Joseph, Rhoda Karpatkin, Kenneth W Kizer, Gerald D Laubach, David McK Lawrence, William L Roper, O. David Taunton, B. C. Vladeck

This policy paper extends efforts by the Institute of Medicine to inform policymakers, provider organizations and clinicians, purchasers, and consumers about the measurement of health care quality--its uses, methods, promise and current challenges. It is based on a conference held at the IOM in September 1996, "Measuring Quality of Care: State of the Art" and the conclusions of the members of the National Roundtable on Health Care Quality. The paper describes quality of care based on the IOM's 1990 definition, then outlines the burden of harm resulting from poor quality. It then describes major approaches to and recent advances in quality measurement. Finally, it describes some of the challenges facing this field.

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