What is Quality?

There are many definitions out there but the framework cited most often comes from two Institute of Medicine reports.

To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm are now both over 10 years old and not only brought the need for improvement in quality and safety to the mainstream public but continue to be relevant guides to ongoing quality improvement in the health system. The executive summaries of each are valuable reading for all who participate in health care.

These reports define quality as:


Beyond the individual responsibility to always strive for safer care, safety must be built into the system of care delivery. Learning from other industry to get highly reliable, safe care is a responsibility of the health care system to reduce patient harm.


Medical care should be based on the latest science to reduce underutilizaiton of effective treatments and overutilitzation of ineffective treatments. Treatments are chosen to maximize the health of the individual and population.

Patient centered

Patients and their families need to be allowed to participate in all aspects of their care. Shared decision making leads to better patient engagement, higher patient compliance and better health outcomes.


Waits and delays not only leads to frustrations for patients it can allow for progression of disease and patient harm.


Reducing waste in system of health care reduces costs and frustrations for both patients and health care workers. Resources are not unlimited in health care. Only by improving efficiency can improved quality and reduced costs be achieved.


There should be no barriers to care due to race, ethinicity, age, gender, or geography.


Vist the AAP Quality Improvement Innovation Networks (QuIIN) for great resources.