Rethinking ‘quality’ in health care

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‘Quality’ is a word we encounter repeatedly in relation to health care and it has become a powerful health policy driver. In the USA, the Institute of Medicine characterises high quality care as that which is safe, effective, patient-centred, timely, efficient, equitable. In England, the NHS is ‘organising itself around a single definition of quality: care that is effective, safe and provides as positive an experience as possible’ enshrined in the NHS Outcomes Framework, as a set of measurable indicators. General practitioners continue to derive about 30 per cent of their income through scoring points in the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

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