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Public Health Rep. 1992 May-Jun;107(3):257-64.

Applying total quality management concepts to public health organizations.

Author information

1
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Abstract

Total quality management (TQM) is a participative, systematic approach to planning and implementing a continuous organizational improvement process. Its approach is focused on satisfying customers' expectations, identifying problems, building commitment, and promoting open decision-making among workers. TQM applies analytical tools, such as flow and statistical charts and check sheets, to gather data about activities within an organization. TQM uses process techniques, such as nominal groups, brainstorming, and consensus forming to facilitate communication and decision making. TQM applications in the public sector and particularly in public health agencies have been limited. The process of integrating TQM into public health agencies complements and enhances the Model Standards Program and assessment methodologies, such as the Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health (APEX-PH), which are mechanisms for establishing strategic directions for public health. The authors examine the potential for using TQM as a method to achieve and exceed standards quickly and efficiently. They discuss the relationship of performance standards and assessment methodologies with TQM and provide guidelines for achieving the full potential of TQM in public health organizations. The guidelines include redefining the role of management, defining a common corporate culture, refining the role of citizen oversight functions, and setting realistic estimates of the time needed to complete a task or project.

PMID:
1594734
PMCID:
PMC1403644
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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