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Health Policy. 1994 Mar;27(3):261-70.

Quality assurance in health care. From a traditional towards a modern approach.

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National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, Bilthoven, Netherlands.


This review article is about some recent developments in quality assurance in health care. A traditional and a modern approach are distinguished. The traditional approach is marked by a medical perspective and quality is defined as a property of medical care. Development of standards and criteria and inspection of conformance to them is the guiding principle for traditional medical quality assurance. The modern approach is marked by a strong influence of industrial principles on medical quality assurance. Industrial principles provide a new theory upon which medical quality assurance can be based. Aspects of care which are associated with the perceived quality are identified and are legitimate objects of medical quality assurance. The guiding principle is to influence experiences of (internal or external) customers by modelling the care according to clarified expectations. The university hospital of Maastricht provides an example of how modern principles of quality assurance are put into practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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