Quality should be a central issue in the commissioning and provision of health care. This requires a systematic approach to defining and monitoring quality. Such an approach should address: quality characteristics such as efficiency, accessibility, effectiveness (which may conflict with each other); the several levels at which quality may be specified, from general (across all health care) to specific (particular conditions or patient groups); and the methods of quality monitoring which include documented policies, clinical audit, inspection visits/patient surveys, and routine information returns. Shows how a matrix for quality surveillance can be devised which provides a framework for purchasers and providers to work together in developing quality in health care.
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