Total quality management in European healthcare

John Øvretveit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Total quality management (TQM) promises much for service industries yet it has been little used in European healthcare. Of those hospitals and services which have implemented TQM, few have had great success and many have found difficulties sustaining their programmes. This paper defines TQM in healthcare and considers examples and results of TQM in European healthcare. It distinguishes between team projects using TQM methods and organization-wide TQM programmes, and finds more evidence for the success of projects than for programmes. The paper discusses whether the differences between healthcare and many other industries explain the mixed results, and considers the prospects for future TQM programmes in European healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Europe
  • Evidence
  • Health care
  • Kaizen
  • Teams
  • Total quality management


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