News: PQI News

Who is Responsible for Improving the Quality of Care?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017  
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In 2006, The Hastings Center (a health care ethics think tank) issued a special report about the ethics of using Quality Improvement (QI) methods to improve health care quality and safety. In this report the authors answer the question: Who has the responsibility for improving the quality of care?

They concluded that: "engaging in quality improvement is NOT purely DISCRETIONARY; health professionals, managers, delivery organizations, patients, and government all have an ethical responsibility to cooperate with one another to improve the quality of care" (p. S6). This means that participating in QI is different from research because research activities are discretionary for health professionals and patients while QI is not.

QI initiatives are how we ensure that all patients receive evidence-based care. This means that it is unethical to eliminate vulnerable populations from QI initiatives. In fact, we should work hard to ensure that QI initiatives include vulnerable populations, even if including them takes more effort.

Why do I highlight an 11 year old report on the ethics of QI?

There is a lot of confusion among educators, researchers, students, members of IRBs, and health professionals about who is responsible for doing QI. In addition, most physicians, RNs, and midwives get very little formal education about how to develop and facilitate QI projects.

We at the Institute for Perinatal QI (PQI) are working to expand the use of improvement science because we know that QI is our responsibility. QI saves lives!

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