The goal of quality assurance is to guarantee quality in medical care through the detection of problems with their subsequent evaluation and study, and through the implementation of corrective measures, when necessary. This article describes the criteria, methods, and results of a programme of quality assurance introduced in the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain, in 1981. The programme covered the following aspects: evaluation of medical care services; process and outcome of medical care; use of available resources; and patient satisfaction. The results obtained over the last two years showed a substantial improvement in those areas which had been influenced by the programme, as well as the development of collective responsibility of the medical staff when faced with the problems of quality that have been detected.
- Medical audit
- Professional staff committees
- Quality assurance programme
- Quality control
- Quality of health care