What is Quality?

Patients and families know quality care when they experience it. A nurseís response time, a doctorís bedside manner, the hospitalís atmosphereóall of these things affect how people feel about the quality of their healthcare.

When hospitals talk about quality, it is generally in reference to very specific clinical data collected and analyzed over a period of time. Quality measurement isnít always easy. Different agencies and groups have different ways of reporting clinical outcomes that can affect the way they rate a hospital on a certain quality measure. Reporting systems can also be cumbersome or costly, making ratings even more difficult to produce. Today, there are limits to the numbers of conditions, treatments, and procedures that are reported and monitored, but as data systems and methods improve, more and more information will be available.

Quality data show how well a department or institution achieves desired health outcomes for a particular procedure, often by tracking how closely clinical staff meet standards of care. At Stanford Hospital & Clinics, we strive to ensure that the care we provide is:

Safe: Avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.

Effective: Providing services based on scientific knowledge and best practice.

Patient-centered: Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values, ensuring that patients' values guide all clinical decisions.

Timely: Reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and provide 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 socio-economic status.

Measuring quality data allows us to see where we are providing the best care and helps us identify areas for improvement.

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