Quality and Patient Safety
At UAB Medicine, we understand that people have various reasons for choosing whom to trust with their health care. We believe this is an important decision and should be based upon the best information available. Organizations that provide the highest quality health care work hard to deliver it to the correct patient, at the correct time, and in the correct method, to achieve the best possible outcomes. Our mission, vision, values, and objectives guide and support our staff in providing health care of the highest quality and in exceeding the expectations of our patients and their families.
What Are the Characteristics of Quality Health Care?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an independent, nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide leadership and guidance in the area of health care in America. In 2001, the IOM shared its vision for an ideal health care system that centers on six goals that set the standard for achieving quality within health care. This set of goals often is referred to by the acronym STEEEP, in which each letter represents an important aspect of quality health care. Health care that meets each of these objectives is considered to be high-quality.
- Safe: the ability to provide health care that is free from avoidable harm
- Timely: the ability to avoid delays and long wait times to provide care when it is needed
- Effective: the ability to provide health care that is grounded in the best medical science
- Efficient: the ability to use resources wisely
- Equitable: the ability to provide quality health care to everyone without preference or prejudice
- Patient-centered: the ability to provide care that is respectful and responsive to patients and meets their family’s needs, values, and preferences
Why Is It Important to Measure Quality in Health Care?
A measure can be used as a standard or basis for comparison. Although there are hundreds of quality measures that have been created to examine different aspects of quality within health care, there is no general agreement among experts on which measures best identify quality in health care. Despite this, measurement is necessary in the pursuit of quality. Measurement allows health care organizations to assess the current status of care provided, recognize the need for improvement, and determine which changes were helpful in meeting improvement goals.
At UAB Medicine, we strive to use data that are readily accessible, meaningful, and allow us to compare our performance against like institutions on nationally established quality measures. We use benchmarks for quality outcomes from sources such as Vizient, CMS Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Hospital Compare, the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), and the National Database for Nursing Quality Improvement. We also use process measures to strive for continued high reliability, and we use the same principle of targeting best performance internally or against like institutions on nationally established measures.
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