Healthcare has changed. After nearly 20 years, “quality” has penetrated deeply into our industry. Whether referred to as quality management, quality improvement, or performance improvement, the structures assuring its permanence are widely evident.
For example, many medical practices participate in pay-for-performance programs necessitating their focus on clinical outcomes; physician and hospital data are publicly reported to foster attention on quality of care; process improvement infrastructure is mandated by The Joint Commission; “meaningful use” criteria recently promoted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology fosters the technology infrastructure necessary to improve quality; and professional organizations increasingly offer participation in comparative databases such as the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.
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