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November 28, 2001

Building Bridges to Quality

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Section of General Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Department of Medicine, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham.

JAMA. 2001;286(20):2600-2601. doi:10.1001/jama.286.20.2600

Quality of care can be defined in numerous ways. Perhaps the most inclusive definition is that proposed by the Institute of Medicine, which defines quality as the "degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge."1 This seemingly simple definition highlights the complexity of the systems in which health care is delivered and the tensions among the various stakeholders in ensuring high-quality care.

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