How Do You Measure Quality in Health Care?

“That which is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

         — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

As someone who leads an integrated health care delivery system, this is a question I frequently find myself asking.

The obvious answer, of course, is to develop measurements based on treatment protocols. Of which we have plenty. It seems these days that we have a measurement and documentation requirement for just about everything. In fact, quality measurement in health care has become an industry unto itself. Hospitals and health care systems across the country pay a lot of money to have their quality of care scrutinized and, hopefully, lauded, by a number of companies that charge them for such assessments. In many cases, those assessments are valuable. 

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