Why Quality Matters

hand holding a cane

As a health care provider, you’ve always done your best for patients. So why is it that hundreds of thousands of Americans die every year from medication errors, infections they acquired during a hospital stay, or other preventable consequences of seeking care?  Why, since the Institute of Medicine published its 1999 landmark report, “To Err is Human,” has the quality of the American health care delivery system changed so little?

It’s not because health care professionals are unskilled or uncaring. It’s because processes for delivering care have broken down, triggering adverse events and poor patient outcomes. Quality matters because lives are at stake. We are fully capable of doing better once processes associated with positive outcomes are in place.

Additionally, quality matters because the economic landscape of health care is changing rapidly. Medicare has begun to pay dialysis centers and hospitals on the basis of quality, not solely volume. It has expanded its value-based purchasing programs into other care settings, including physician practices and ambulatory surgery centers. The providers most likely to succeed in the health care system of the future are those who can demonstrate clinical quality.

The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. QIN-QIOs bring health care providers together to learn from each other and accelerate improvement.