Selected reflections on quality of medical care evaluation in the 1980s

by Robert H. Brook, Allyson Ross Davies, Caren Kamberg

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A collection of thoughts and opinions on factors that the authors believe will affect attempts to (1) integrate quality assurance activities within the health services system, (2) perform such activities, and (3) evaluate their effectiveness. Although many factors--economic, political, and social--will influence the climate within which efforts to evaluate and improve quality of medical care take place, the most important is the current move toward cost containment. Issues such as making cost-benefit tradeoffs and defining the focus of medical care will be difficult to resolve, say the authors. However, in their view, these tradeoffs and definitions can be made successfully, with the help of patients and nonhealth professionals, and a viable equilibrium between cost containment and quality of health care can be achieved.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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