Improved general characteristics and quality of the health service or care provided based on accepted standards of quality. Health care quality is measured in terms of effectiveness of care, equity of care to patients with different characteristics, patient experience, complications, unplanned readmissions, and delays in receiving care. Data on these characteristics must be regularly collected to maintain and improve quality.
Health care quality informs entire health care systems and is constantly being redefined based on new research and changing patient characteristics. Clinical science uses health care quality to identify strengths and weaknesses of interventions through both qualitative (patient satisfaction) and quantitative (patient remittance rates) measures. Translational science uses health care quality definitions to interpret interventions across different fields with similar health care quality standards.
Advice from authors on searching for information:
It can be challenging to identify accepted standards of quality and determine if a specific clinical and translational research project improves health care quality.
Resources & Data
Organizations, repositories, websites, and other sources where you can find more information:
- Barnes Jewish Hospital HealthCare Quality. Provides links to the Missouri Hospital Association and national comparison website (at the HHS) that compare hospitals on quality care across the nation. This resource is mostly for patients looking to understand how BJC ranks against other hospitals and if it has quality health care.
- Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. Provides links to research and practice tools to improve quality of health care. Program areas include Clinicians & Providers, Data & Measures, Education & Training, Health Information Technology, Hospitals & Health Systems, Prevention & Chronic Care, and Quality & Patient Safety.
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Provides educational programs, trainings, and tools to drive healthcare improvement. Performs in-person programs as well as providing virtual training and online courses.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Conducts research on health care quality, creates materials (trainings, tools, protocols, etc.) to teach to clinicians, and analyzes data to find health care areas to improve. Provides tabs to specific areas (i.e. opioid prescriptions, infection spreading, etc.) and funds hospitals/schools that are interested in researching ways to improve health care quality.
- Vizient. Provides members with tools to lower supply costs, improve health care delivery, pharmacy consulting, and decision-making analytics.
Challenges you may encounter while searching for information:
Health care quality standards are subject to debate as to whether metrics can be used as performance measures of health care outcomes.
Articles, books, and other publications in translational science using the indicator:
- Barnett PG, Hong JS, Carey E, et al. Comparison of accessibility, cost, and quality of elective coronary revascularization between veterans affairs and community care hospitals. JAMA Cardiol. 2018; 3(2): 133-141. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2017.4843.
- Maddox TM, Borden WB, Tang F, et al. Implications of the 2013 ACC/AHA cholesterol guidelines for adults in contemporary cardiovascular practice: insights from the NCDR PINNACLE registry. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Dec; 64(21): 2183-2192. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.08.041.
- Stelfox HT, Straus SE. Measuring quality of care: considering conceptual approaches to quality indicator development and evaluation. J Clin Epidemiol. 2013 Dec;66(12):1328-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.05.017.