A decade ago, the Institute of Medicine defined quality of care as ". . . the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase
the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current
professional knowledge."1 This definition is
complex and comprehensive, and its many facets are described in detail in
an article by Chassin et al2 based on the consensus
of the Institute of Medicine's National Roundtable on Health Care Quality.
For instance, for "health services for individuals and populations to increase
the likelihood of desired health outcomes" they must be used both appropriately
and effectively. Quality-of-care problems related to undesirable health outcomes
can arise as a result of underuse, overuse, or misuse.2
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