What Are the Problems and What Are the Solutions?
Abstract of Journal Article - October 2000
Symposium on Quality in Health Care
By David M. Shipon, MD; and David B. Nash, MD, MBA
The health care industry must define quality as achieving "desired health outcomes" that are " consistent with current professional knowledge." Once a single definition is established, health care professionals can begin to measure quality and improve the process of health care in this country. Clinical variation and an increasing number of medical mistakes have contributed to rising health care costs and poor quality. Once the industry establishes what is wrong, it can begin to devise some solutions to improve the quality of health care. A six-step strategy to improve quality is suggested: increasing accountability at all levels of the industry, continuous quality improvement, standardization of medicine using guidelines, patient empowerment, improved access to health information through a centralized database, and the need for incentives for patients and medical professionals. Although many physicians are skeptical of such changes, the health care industry clearly must work together to address the issue of quality appropriately.