According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (n.d.), “The Institute of Medicine defines health care quality as ‘the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.’ ”
The Institute of Medicine further defines quality as having the following six properties or domains:
Effectiveness. Relates to providing care processes and achieving outcomes as supported by scientific evidence.
Efficiency. Relates to maximizing the quality of a comparable unit of healthcare delivered or unit of health benefit achieved for a given unit of healthcare resources used.
Equity. Relates to providing healthcare of equal quality to those who may differ in personal characteristics other than their clinical condition or preferences for care.
Patient-centeredness. Relates to meeting patients’ needs and preferences and providing education and support.
Safety. Relates to actual or potential bodily harm.
Timeliness. Relates to obtaining needed care while minimizing delays.