Structure, process, and outcome are the common indicators used in evaluating the quality of medical care.
This paper will delve on the meaning of structure, process, and outcome indicators as they relate to the assessment of quality medical care.
Using Structure,Outcome, and Process in Evaluating Quality Medical Care
Healthcare personnel and medical facilities are constantly demanded to provide a report about the outcome of their admission of treatment. Governments get in touch with hospitals to provide an accounting of their results so that they could come up with new health care structure, as well as to serve as a back-up for the establishment of new regulations in medical systems. Insurance companies show greater interest in the outcome of medical treatments in order that they can deliver cost-effective care and benchmarking (Van der Ent, 6-7).
Providing quality assessment of medical care is important because financial departments of health care providers usually it helps them come up with an affordable price in terms of medical care. Newspapers and magazines usually compare the performance of hospitals as far as the safety and satisfaction of their patients are concerned. For patients, they have the right to be informed about which facility or doctor provides quality medical care (Van der Ent, 6-7).
At present, there are various systems in place used in assessing the quality of medical care. In the United Kingdom, for example, the salary of general practitioners are based on how they performed in the Quality and Outcomes Framework 1. In order to be successful, the hospital or medical facility should establish a set of indicators (Van der Ent, 6-7).
Structure, Process, and Outcome As Indicators Of Quality Medical Care
The structure of the medical care serves as the background in the delivery of medical care to the patient. In administering cystic fibrosis, does the delivery of quality medical care involve other practitioners such as a pulmonist, physiotherapist, dietician, and social worker? (Van der Ent, 6-7)
Process indicators, on the other hand, has something to do with how medical care is organized. This means that every procedure requires protocols and guidelines. For example, what is the usual protocol in measuring lung function? How are patients infected by staphylococcus aureus segregated from other patients? (Van der Ent, 6-7)
Outcome indicators, meanwhile, is concerned with the result of medical care. It has something to do with statistics such as mortality rate, percentage of complications, number of patients who recover, and so on. The outcome of medical care usually helps in the determining whether care is insufficient as well as in pointing out the reason for the failure of medical care. In most healthcare systems, the basic requirement are the structure and process indicator instead of the outcome(Van der Ent, 6-7).
The Advantage of Using Outcome In Assessing Quality Medical Care
The outcome of medical care is most often used as the indicator of quality health care. Its reliability as a determinant of quality care cannot be doubted. Aside from that, it more or less provides an accurate assessment of medical care (Donabien, 691-729).
However, there are some factors that limits the use of outcomes as an indicator of quality medical care. One of these factors is whether or not the outcome is indeed the relevant indicator. There are instances when outcomes becomes irrelevant especially in cases when the survival of the patient will not be critical but will cause them to be paralyzed or bring about serious complications (Donabien, 691-729).
C.K. van der Ent(2008). Quality Assessment: Is The Truth in the Outcome? European Respiratory Journal, 31, 6-7
Donabien, A(2005). Evaluating The Quality of Medical Care. The Milbank Quarterly, 83, 691 729