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 January 01, 1999

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, et al.

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.