National level issues in relation to quality health services
During the last two decades, quality of care became an indispensable element for most developed countries and their health strategies. As a result, well-developed quality improvement policies have actually guided the healthcare organisations in their process of tackling shortcomings and striving towards nationally posited quality of care aims. Such rich experience in improving quality of care in many countries offers a plethora of valuable lessons for other countries that are just embarking on this process - and platforms such as HIFA offer us a possibility to learn from each other.
For example, when transition countries are concerned, it is not wise to just implement the same policies that were effective elsewhere, as they may not be suitable for their (often very specific) environment. Hence, there is a need to first perform an in-depth analysis of the problems related to the quality of care (with the use of appropriate indicators which we have discussed in the previous two weeks), and only then respond with strategies that are suitable to their respective environments. In other words, reliable health service data are indeed pivotal to understanding quality problems.
One example is Croatia, which during almost three decades of independence had to pass through a challenging political and economic transition process. The positive aspect is that Croatia always had a strong primary care base, which was how many quality improvement schemes actually started. In addition, primary care offices in Croatia represent an excellent milieu for data collection due to early and pervasive computerisation in comparison to other neighbouring countries. Such data have been used to identify key indicators of quality of care, which are then included in the program of quality of care monitoring in all primary care offices, closing in turn the circle of quality improvement.
In the next two weeks, as our thematic discussion on quality of care focuses on national level issues in relation to quality health services, I will share some experiences from Croatia and neighbouring countries regarding their commitment and practical approach to the quality of care. Also, we will discuss how these examples fit within suggested national-level activities for improving quality of health services in WHO's planning guide for quality health services.
HIFA profile: Tomislav Mestrovic is a medical doctor and a clinical microbiologist with a PhD in biomedical sciences, and an Assistant Professor at Croatia's youngest public university, University North. He is also passionately invested in global health communication, health literacy, science journalism and science diplomacy. Tomislav was appointed by the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia as a Managing Committee Member to COST Action on evidence-based medicine run by the European Union. He holds several positions in international societies that resulted in many volunteering initiatives. Tomislav is the current holder of the HIFA Country Representative of the Year award (2020) and is also the European coordinator for HIFA Country Representatives. He is also a member of the HIFA-WHO working group on Learning for quality health services.
tomislav.mestrovic AT gmail.com