Quality health care means the provision of health services that are consistent with professional knowledge and increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes. It should be available to consumers when they need it and should be accessible and non-discriminatory. There are many different definitions of quality health care. These definitions vary depending on the health care setting, perspective, and mission.
A key problem in the current health care system is that payments for health care providers are not directly tied to quality of care. Most Americans depend on employer-sponsored health benefits that limit their choices of health care providers. In addition, the cost of medical procedures is determined between the employer and the health care provider and is not related to the quality of care provided.
In order to ensure a consistent measurement of quality, health care providers should use a valid quality measurement tool. An acceptable quality measurement tool is one that collects data on standardized quality measures and is able to be understood by anyone. Using a measure that is not valid will make comparisons among health plans difficult or impossible.
In addition to ensuring that quality health care is available, consumers need to understand what is required to provide quality care. Consumers must have access to information about quality health care services and advocate for it. Translating these standards into practice requires developing a culture and environment that promotes quality care. This requires a combination of policy and practice change and a strong commitment to patient safety.
The quality of care has become an increasingly important topic of debate. Advocacy efforts have focused on the quality of care in order to understand who receives it, whether the care is timely or appropriate, and the systemic reasons for its shortcomings. This focus allows beneficiaries to be actively involved in monitoring the standards for quality. The Center for Medicare Advocacy is one of the organizations that uses quality health care as a key strategy to increase consumer awareness and highlight the importance of measuring it.
The Quality Health Alliance is an Accountable Care Organization that combines the efforts of many different healthcare organizations to provide quality healthcare. The alliance was founded in collaboration with St. Mary Medical Center. Its mission is to offer high-quality patient-centered care to all members of the healthcare system. The alliance focuses on creating common clinical initiatives that improve the delivery of care. It also offers opportunities to share the savings generated.
The requirements for reporting quality data to CMS vary by healthcare facility type. In addition to the mandatory reporting of quality data, healthcare providers can also voluntarily report quality data beyond what is required. Reporting quality data on a voluntary basis allows patients to better evaluate the quality of care provided to them.