[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 19, 1997

Health Care Quality: Incorporating Consumer Perspectives

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Health Care Policy (Dr Cleary) and Medicine (Ms Edgman-Levitan), Harvard Medical School, and the Picker Institute (Dr Cleary and Ms Edgman-Levitan), Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 1997;278(19):1608-1612. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550190072047

The goal of this article is to address, from the perspective of users of the health care system (consumers), the following questions: What are the most important health care quality gaps and/or challenges; what major changes should we anticipate in this area in the near future; and what should be the role of federal and state agencies, accreditation organizations, and philanthropic foundations in addressing these challenges? We discuss the needs, challenges, and potential action steps for increasing the prominence of the user's perspective in 3 areas: (1) the conceptualization and definition of quality; (2) the measurement of quality; and (3) routine quality assessment and improvement. The article concludes by making recommendations about the role that different agencies and organizations can and should play in meeting these challenges.