Module 6: How To Ensure High-Quality Medical Care

Low-quality health services are wasteful, unethical, and potentially harmful. Global health organizations must provide high-quality services to those who have limited access to healthcare. Because there are many components of healthcare delivery, the quality of care must be assessed at multiple levels. The Institute of Medicine has identified six aims of quality medical care:(1)

Although most of us probably believe that low quality is primarily a reflection of inadequate financial resources, there is good evidence that quality can be enhanced in a number of ways even in the absence of additional resources.”--Richard Skolnik, Author of Global Health 101(2)

Global health expert Richard Skolnik claims that any effective method of ensuring quality healthcare relies on a strong evaluation and feedback system. “It is very important, first, that health systems carry out assessments that will help them to understand the quality gaps in their programs.”(3) These assessments must be ongoing to promote continual improvements in the quality of medical care. Additionally, implementing professional oversight, supervision, and ongoing training to health service providers is essential to maintaining and improving the quality of medical care.

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(1) Adapted from “The IOM Quality Initiative: A Progress Report at Year Six.” Institute of Medicine Newsletter. 1.1 (Winter 2002). Accessed on 07 October 2008.

(2) Skolnik, R. Essentials of Global Health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2007.

(3) Ibid.