[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 22, 1986

AMA Initiative on Quality of Medical Care and Professional Self-Regulation

JAMA. 1986;256(8):1036-1037. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380080082034

Background: Physicians and Quality Assurance  Providing quality care is the physician's foremost ethical obligation, and it is the basis of public trust in physicians. Improving the quality of medical care has been a central purpose of the American Medical Association (AMA) since it was established in 1847.Quality is difficult to measure, and even where measurements exist, they are often challenged as to their precision and application. But there is little doubt that Americans receive highquality medical care. The evidence is that the quality both of care and of the health care professional have never been higher in this country. Taking just one crude measure, mortality rates for virtually every major surgical operation have fallen substantially over the last decade.Physicians and their professional organizations have established a variety of mechanisms to protect the quality of the care of patients. The quality standards of US medical education, residency training, and