System governance: assuring quality

System governance: assuring quality

As payers, patients, governments and regulators demand to know more about care delivery and quality, providers are seeking reliable and meaningful metrics. Many healthcare leaders perceive a disconnect between the internal drive for excellence and external requests for measurement and assurance, viewing the latter as unnecessary administration. In the quest to become high reliability organizations, a greater focus on care outcomes can help providers to align these two tasks by reducing complexity and increasing transparency to the benefit of all stakeholders.

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“Regulation is much too important to leave to the regulators.”

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive and Registrar, General Medical Council, UK

The one exception to this call for a shift towards outcome measures is safety. Although measurement enhances safety, measuring the successful avoidance of catastrophic events such as wrong-side surgery, complications and medication errors is not a feasible way towards assurance. In common with other high-risk industries, certification is often the preferred way forward, coupled with careful oversight and engaged clinicians.

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