Quality in medicine is a developing concept that focuses on delivering patient services and effective outcomes. Concerning laboratory medicine, quality ranges from analytical quality to overall assessment and value of information in terms of clinical decision-making (Plebani, 2017). The importance of understanding quality components has been distinguished relatively recently, as the attention increased towards this issue. The Institute of Medicine of the United States (IOM) proposed six dimensions of quality, which help to define the correspondence to a clinical standard to this day (Plebani, 2017). It is crucial to examine the importance of these dimensions and identify possibilities for healthcare improvement.
Six Aims of Institute of Medicine and Opportunities for Health Care Improvement
Nowadays, healthcare organizations have become more interested in the quality measurement of medical services. The Institute of Medicine determines quality as “the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge” (Plebani, 2017, p.1). These six dimensions include safety, effectiveness, patient satisfaction, timeliness, equity, and efficiency (Haugland et al., 2017). According to these six aims, it is possible to determine the framework which healthcare organizations should adhere to the quality of their medical services.
The first aim is safety, which stands for avoiding detriment to a patient and intended to help him. The second dimension is called effectiveness and represents providing services based on scientifically verified knowledge and avoiding misuse of any drug or service. Patient satisfaction is about selecting health care that will match an individual’s needs, values, and preferences, ensuring treatment’s correspondence with a clinical standard. Timeliness stands for reducing time, which a patient might waste when waiting for medical help; it also aims to avoid harmful delays and negative consequences in treatment for both a patient and a doctor. Next, efficiency is a concept that warns medical workers about a meaningless waste of “equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy” (‘Six domains of,’ 2018, p. 1). The last concept, called equity, represents providing proper care for a patient, irrespective of a patient’s ethnicity, status, and gender.
As mentioned before, quality in medicine is an evolving concept; it can be improved and supplemented. Thus, there is an opportunity for IOM six concepts to be improved. For instance, existing measures focus on some efforts broader than others (‘Six domains of,’ 2018). Mainly, these domains concentrate on effectiveness and safety, but the minority of measures are about equity (ethics) of care, timeliness, and patient-centered issues. Thus, there is a need to improve conceding issues, for example, the urgency of medical help, ethical aspects in treatment, and patient satisfaction.
Choosing Elements for Improved Quality of Health Care
Any health care organization that strives to improve the quality of its services should focus on a patient’s needs. According to many articles, health care suffers from many unsolved issues that can threaten lives, make treatment unsatisfactory for a patient, and increase organizational costs (Brandrud et al., 2017). Therefore, healthcare organizations need to choose elements for measuring the quality of medical services they provide. Medical organizations should gather knowledge of best clinical practices from healthcare experts. It will allow the organization to examine its weak points in medical personnel (e.g., nurses and doctors), services, equipment, and the quality of conditions for patients. One more way to improve the quality of healthcare organizations is a patient satisfaction survey. This survey is a popular approach to measure medical service quality and estimate the patient experience (Huang et al., 2018). This method might also help to grasp conceding points in the services of a medical organization.
To sum everything up, six dimensions of the Institute of Medicine of the United States are supposed to work effectively upon the condition of abidance to all of six measures. It was examined that some medical organizations can fail some points of this concept of six dimensions. Therefore, there are opportunities to improve health care quality using the experience of reliable experts and patient satisfaction surveys.
Brandrud, A. S., Nyen, B., Hjortdahl, P., Sandvik, L., Helljesen Haldorsen, G. S., Bergli, M., Nelson, E. C., & Bretthauer, M. (2017). Domains associated with successful quality improvement in healthcare – a nationwide case study. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1). Web.
Haugland, H., Rehn, M., Klepstad, P., & Krüger, A. (2017). Developing quality indicators for physician-staffed emergency medical services: a consensus process. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, 25(1). Web.
Huang, C. W., Iqbal, U., & Li, Y. C. J. (2018). Healthcare improvement measures in risk management and patient satisfaction. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 30(1). Web.
Plebani, M. (2017). Quality in laboratory medicine: an unfinished journey. Journal of Laboratory and Precision Medicine, 63(2). Web.
Six domains of health care quality. (2018). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Web.