Cover: How Good is the Quality of Health Care in the United States?

How Good is the Quality of Health Care in the United States?

Published 2002

by Mark A. Schuster, Elizabeth A. McGlynn, Robert H. Brook

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback47 pages Free

In September 1998, the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry released its final report on how to define, measure, and promote quality of health care. With new organizational structures and reimbursement strategies that may affect quality of care, the health care system has undergone a dramatic transformation. Concerns about potentially negative consequences prompted a movement to assure that quality will not be sacrificed to control costs. This study reviews the academic literature on quality of care in the U.S. and provides an overview of quality of care delivery across diverse settings, conditions, and demographic groups. Quality of care in the U.S. varies among hospitals, cities, and states, some of it outstanding, but much of it not meeting professional standards. A systematic strategy for routine monitoring and reporting on quality is essential to preserve quality and to improve efficiency of high-quality health services.

Originally published in: The Milbank Quarterly, v. 76, no. 4, 1998, pp. 517-563.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND 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.