From quality assurance to quality improvement. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and Emergency Care.Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1992 Aug; 10(3):477-92.EM
The transition from quality assurance to quality improvement is at an early stage, but it clearly has begun. The progressive anticipated changes in the tone and content of JCAHO standards will place the JCAHO in a different posture in relation to accredited hospitals. Standards are of course a set of requirements that must be met as a condition of accreditation. But the JCAHO's bottom line expectation will be a meaningful and demonstrated improvement in hospital performance. How hospitals reach this objective is their business. This shifts the onus of responsibility to where it belongs and suggests a more facilitative role for the JCAHO. Although the JCAHO is introducing standards requirements that are minimally essential to the achievement of improved performance, full-fledged adoption of CQI concepts will not be mandated. Management structures and styles in health care organizations vary considerably, and CQI is but one means to the desired end of improved performance. We believe, however, that it is the best means and that most organizations will discover this for themselves. Notwithstanding the magnitude of needed internal behavioral change, excellence in performance is what most health care organizations want for themselves and their patients. CQI offers them the opportunity to reach this lofty goal.