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Quality in healthcare organizations

Everyone wants to talk about quality. Patient and employee surveys are always touted as being about quality. All marketing plans for global and local businesses of all kinds claim quality in their branding. But what exactly does that mean? Are the indicators truly quality indicators? Who defines quality for an organization?

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Quality is a relative term defined according to the interest of the organization involved. Each organism that certifies, accredits, or rules the industry in question usually establishes guidelines or standards of quality for the organizations under its umbrella. For these guidelines to be creditable, the organization assembles a group of experts on the field that will be in charge to research and present the evidence-based indicators that will be used to reach those guidelines or standards that define quality. Two examples of organisms that establish guidelines that define quality in healthcare are the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a government based organization, and the Joint Commission, a non-profit private organization.

The AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs) are measures of health care quality that make use of readily available hospital inpatient administrative data (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], 2011b). To reach those quality indicators, the ...

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The solution involves a description of who determines quality in an organization and what organisms overview that standards defining quality in health care are upheld.