Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Quality of Care

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2889


Health care quality


There are several definitions for quality of care. One of the most cited definitions was formulated by the Institute of Medicine in the 1990s. It defines quality of care 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”. Unlike other definitions, this definition includes both the technical perspectives of quality and the individual perspective of the patient, by referring to the desired outcome. Quality of care is often categorized into the three dimensions structure, process, and outcome. The structural elements refer to the quality of the facilities and the environment where the health care services are delivered (e. g. buildings, equipment, and skill level of health care professionals). The process quality refers to the correctness and appropriateness of the treatment that is provided. The overarching dimension is...

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© Springer-Verlag 2008