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Acad Emerg Med. 2002 Nov;9(11):1091-107.

Measuring and improving quality in emergency medicine.

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  • 1Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06085-1480, USA.


The findings are presented of a consensus committee created to address the measuring and improving of quality in emergency medicine. The objective of the committee was to critically evaluate how quality in emergency medicine can be measured and how quality improvement projects can positively affect the care of emergency patients. Medical quality is defined as "the care health professionals would want to receive if they got sick." The literature of quality improvement in emergency medicine is reviewed and analyzed. A summary list of measures of quality is included with four categories: condition-specific diseases, diagnostic syndromes, tasks/procedures, and department efficiency/efficacy. Methods and tools for quantifying these measures are examined as well as their accuracy in assessing quality and adjusting for differences in environment, and patient populations. Successful strategies for changing physician behavior are detailed as well as barriers to change. Examples are given of successful quality improvement efforts. Also examined is how to address the emergency care needs of vulnerable populations such as older persons, women, those without health insurance, and ethnic minorities.

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