WHO Bulletin: Improving the quality of health care across the health system

3 December, 2018

Extracts below. Full text here: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/12/18-226266/en/

Can anyone share experience of introducing quality improvement principles into policy and practice?

CITATION: Improving the quality of health care across the health system

Shamsuzzoha B Syed, Sheila Leatherman, Nana Mensah-Abrampah, Matthew Neilson & Edward Kelley

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2018;96:799. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.18.226266


'To support Member States in this process, WHO has launched a global effort to promote and improve national quality policies and strategies.8 This initiative has published the Handbook for national quality policy and strategy, which has been developed with national quality directorates and technical experts and is designed to support national efforts, recognizing the varied expertise of national health authorities...

'As the form and content of specific policies will vary with each country’s context, WHO outlines a sequential approach that can be adapted to each situation. Policies on quality-improvement must be linked with existing national health priorities to help meet the most pressing demands of the population and to ensure that the quality-improvement agenda is aligned to these priorities. The definition of quality must be developed locally, through a shared understanding of challenges and ambitions. Stakeholders from across the health system need to be identified and engaged. The current state of health service quality is assessed to identify key gaps that can be strengthened. Interventions are needed across all levels of the health system, along with clarification of governance arrangements, organizational structures and the information systems necessary for measurement, performance feedback and reporting. Finally, a set of indicators have to be agreed and tracked to measure the extent to which activities are producing a higher quality of care and leading to improved health outcomes. These elements are the foundation upon which to organize national efforts to improve the quality of healthcare services, avoiding the pitfall of creating a silo around the quality-improvement agenda. WHO’s handbook emphasizes the importance of integration with existing national health policies and with relevant population- and disease-specific programmes that address quality...'

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice


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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG /orcid.org/0000-0001-9557-1487 neil@hifa.org