Conceptualizing a Quality Plan for Healthcare: A Philosophical Reflection on the Relevance of the Health Profession to Society

Health Care Analysis 15 (4):337-361 (2007)
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Today, health systems around the world are under pressure to create greater value for patients and society [81, p. 1, 119]; increasing access, improving client orientation and responsiveness, reducing medical errors and safety, restraining utilization via managed care, and implementing priority allocation of resources for high-burden health problems are examples of strategies towards this end. The quality paradigm by virtue of its strategic consumer focus and its methods for achieving operational excellence has proved an effective approach for creating higher value in many sectors. If applied in a deliberate and holistic manner, the quality paradigm can bring about a more cost-effective organization of the health systems. In this article, we apply quality concepts to healthcare in a conceptual format; we characterize the health system’s customers and outputs with their quality dimensions. The product of this effort is a blueprint for a customer-driven health system which identifies six types of customers, nine types of outputs and the associated operations. As a preliminary step, a new analysis and definition of health and disease is provided. Rethinking the structure of health system in this manner and the related conceptual model can guide medical research, health sciences education, and health services policy, and help the practitioner to integrate all modern trends in healthcare delivery



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