There are many organizations and governmental agencies that work on ensuring patient safety by promoting the importance of quality. Quality can be defined as a “balance between possibilities realized and a framework of norms and values”. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines quality as the “degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge”. The IOM defined Six Domains for Health Care Quality within the health care system.
· Safe: Avoiding harm to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
· Effective: Providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit (avoiding underuse and misuse, respectively).
· Patient-centered: Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.
· Timely: Reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
· Efficient: Avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
· Equitable: Providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.
There are several government agencies and educational organizations that work together to promote patient safety by improving quality:
· Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
· ANCC Magnet Recognition Program
· Hospital Compare
· Hospital Quality Alliance
· Institute for Healthcare Improvement
· National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention
· National Quality Forum
· Nursing Alliance for Quality Care
· Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement
· The Joint Commission (TJC)
According to the IOM , patient safety is:
the prevention of harm to patients. Emphasis is placed on the system of care delivery that (1) prevents errors; (2) learns from the errors that do occur; and (3) is built on a culture of safety that involves health care professionals, organizations, and patients.
The AHRQ adds to the definition by defining the prevention of harm as “freedom from accidental or preventable injuries produced by medical care”. TJC has been a champion for patient safety for more than 60 years by helping “health care organizations improve the quality and safety of the care they provide with patient safety-focused initiatives that encourage and support organizations in their efforts to make patient safety a continuous priority”.