Physicians and nurses strive to provide quality medical care to their clients to ensure better patient outcomes and satisfaction. Quality care in healthcare institutions has significant benefits at individual and community levels since it increases chances of realizing anticipated health outcomes. An evaluation of various dimensions of quality care and their importance, priorities, and resource allocation in the healthcare system and criteria of assessing health care quality can facilitate a better understanding of the latter.
Dimensions of Quality Care and Their Importance
Poor-quality health care services can be detrimental to individual and community well-being. Therefore, healthcare professionals and researchers, organizational leaders, and policymakers advocate for quality care to improve all people’s health. The dimensions that define quality health care are effectiveness, safety, efficiency, accessibility, and patient-centered. Healthcare professionals should deliver effective care services to their clients by adhering to evidence-based practices and results (Sultz & Young, 2017). The effectiveness dimension of quality care ensures that healthcare physicians and nurses provide services based on needs and what works best for particular cases to ensure enhanced health outcomes for individuals and communities. Indeed, care services that use scientific knowledge and are directed to those who benefit most without misusing or underusing are vital to guarantee better health.
Safety has been a concern in the healthcare sector for a long time. Quality health care services should not cause any harm to patients that are intended to help. According to Sultz and Young (2017), patient safety is essential to delivering quality care services. The safety dimension of quality care may include such aspects as prevention of medical errors, injuries, diagnostic errors, and other avoidable harms during health care processes. Safety in health care significantly minimizes risks for infections, prolonged hospitalization, readmissions, and death.
Efficiency is a dimension of quality care that can influence patient outcomes. Care providers should avoid wastage of resources, including equipment, energy, ideas, and supplies. According to Khomami and Rustomfram (2019), efficiency also comprises competent standard care that adheres to the code of nursing practice. This dimension of quality care reduces the length to which patients stay in hospitals. As a result, it saves treatment costs for both patients and healthcare facilities.
The accessibility dimension that defines quality care involves delivering geographically reasonable and timely health services in settings equipped with appropriate resources and skills for medical needs. There should be effective measures to minimize waits and detrimental delays for individuals seeking health services and care providers. Improved access to healthcare is vital since it facilitates earlier diagnosis and treatment of health conditions (Bhatt & Bathija, 2018). Timely utilization of health care services also prevents diseases, increases consumers’ quality of life, and reduces the possibility of premature death.
Quality care should be patient-centered, involving the provision of health services that respect and respond to individual patients’ needs, preferences, and values. Moreover, care providers should ensure that patient values guide their clinical decisions. Patient-centered care is important because it is associated with positive patient outcomes such as improved safety and quality of services, greater satisfaction, and enhanced well-being and quality of life (Kuipers et al., 2019). The dimension also facilitates more coordinated care and greater satisfaction among healthcare providers.
Various things regarding quality health care have changed since the doctors were perceived to know best. Delivery of quality care has become more integrative, involving patients, families, physicians, nurses, and other stakeholders to meet all health needs. For instance, doctors have to consider patient values before making any clinical decision. Equally, any technical performance emphasizes patient safety, effectiveness, and efficiency to guarantee quality care.
Health Care Systems Priorities and Resource Allocations to Achieve Maximum Benefits
The main objective of quality care is to accomplish maximum benefits at the lowest cost. The health care system prioritizes basic science, clinical, and epidemiological research to facilitate effective disease prevention, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice (Sultz & Young, 2017). For instance, clinical research focuses on different phases of the medical care process, including early detection of illnesses, diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance of optimal health well-being. Conversely, epidemiological studies are concerned about the distribution and determinants of health problems in humans. Effective prevention of diseases is one of the most effective approaches to achieving the greatest benefits from quality care without putting individuals and communities at risk of complications. Improvement of quality in the health care system is instrumental in implementing policies and procedures that alleviate error-prone procedures that are detrimental to patients and waste resources. Evidence-based practices in the healthcare system focus on delivering care that integrates clinical expertise, best evidence from research, and patients’ values and preferences for better health outcomes (Sultz & Young, 2017). Indeed, the research in the healthcare system has positively impacted the quality of care services.
Resource allocation is another factor with a significant influence on health care quality. The healthcare system redistributes resources to medical research institutes such as health facilities to ensure the delivery of quality health care services. For instance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allocates a significant amount of money to the patient-centered outcomes research institute (PCORI) (Sultz & Young, 2017). The operations of the institute focus on approaches to patent satisfaction, which is a core element of care quality. The money is also allocated to build and maintain health care facilities, equip them with medical tools and medicine, and pay workers. An increased number of healthcare institutions with adequate personnel and equipment improve access to health services and quality of care.
Implicit and Explicit Criteria in Assessing Health Care Quality
The implicit and explicit criteria are standards used to assess the quality of health. According to Rios-Zertuche et al. (2018), implicit health care quality assessment is based on health experts’ judgment of health services. The criterion uses structured methods that guide assessors through every record that is being reviewed. This criterion is useful because it facilitates consideration of unique features of patients during the assessments, using the latest developments and trends of patient improvement.
Conversely, notes that explicit standard of assessing health care quality uses guide procedure check-lists of specific data and sophisticated methods such as natural method and search terms. The explicit criterion has higher chances of meeting set expectations since the concept of quality associated with it is completely acceptable (Rios-Zertuche et al., 2018). Explicit methods respond to the necessity for fairness, predictability, and consistency in assessing the quality of care. Rios-Zertuche et al. (2018) add that the criterion requires the definition of objectives and scope of care in more specific and general terms, facilitating a better understanding of quality care and approaches for assessing the latter in the healthcare sector.
Bhatt, J., & Bathija, P. (2018). Ensuring access to quality health care in vulnerable communities. Academic Medicine, 93(9), 1271-1275. Web.
Khomami, H., & Rustomfram, N. (2019). Nursing efficiency in patient care: A comparative study in perception of staff nurse and hospital management in a trust hospital. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 8(5), 1550–1557. Web.
Kuipers, S., Cramm, J., & Nieboer, A. (2019). The importance of patient-centered care and co-creation of care for satisfaction with care and physical and social well-being of patients with multi-morbidity in the primary care setting. BMC Health Services Research, 19(1), 1-9. Web.
Rios-Zertuche, D., Zúñiga-Brenes, P., Palmisano, E., Hernández, B., Schaefer, A., & Johanns, C. et al. (2018). Methods to measure quality of care and quality indicators through health facility surveys in low- and middle-income countries. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 31(3), 183-190. Web.
Sultz, H., & Young, K. (2017). Health care USA: Understanding its organization and delivery (9th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.