Quality of community-based healthcare services

Rachel Wilf-Miron*, Joshua Shemer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

Abstract

The recent concern regarding the quality of healthcare services is partly due to the empowerment of health consumers, cost containment measures that may compromise quality, increased complexity of the medical practice and the accelerated growth of data on the magnitude and extent of quality problems. The framework of the delivery of health services, including quality parameters, differs fundamentally in the community as opposed to the hospital setting. In the community, the episode of care lacks geographic and temporal boundaries, and is divided among different facilities and caregivers. Hence, the healthcare systems lack control over the management of care. In the solo practice, the physician lacks the opportunity to discuss and share medical decisions with his/her peers and physician's reimbursement does not encourage him/her to invest time and effort in the provision of quality care. Furthermore, in the community setting, the patient is expected to take responsibility for compliance to the therapeutic regimen, a condition that may frequently interfere with regular life routines. Therefore, quality promotion should embody the "quality triangle" encompassing patients, caregivers, the healthcare system and appropriate interfaces. Ideally, the voice of the health consumer should be an integral consideration in the design of health policy, care should be patient-centered and physician reimbursement should reflect the quality of care provided. In addition, the design of the healthcare system information technology in supporting decision-making and training "quality leaders" to facilitate quality improvement programs. Consequently, it is pivotal to nurture agreement among policy-makers, patients and caregivers as to the essence of the dilemma: "What is quality in community care?" Meanwhile, we may suggest a primordial definition to community-based health care quality management: An ongoing multidisciplinary effort to identify and respond to the needs of patients, by providing systemic infrastructure that will support the caregivers and help in achieving better outcomes in the six basic dimensions of quality care-safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered. In conclusion, in light of the medical activities conducted in the community, and the prevalent and ever-growing shortage of resources, there is a need to integrate efforts to develop and implement both unique tools and strategies to manage quality in community-based health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176+248
JournalHarefuah
Volume143
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004

Keywords

  • Community care
  • Healthcare services
  • Quality
  • Quality management

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