What Is Quality?

The Institute of Medicine defines health care quality as “the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.”

Quality Domains

The Institute of Medicine further defines quality as having the following properties or domains:

Institute of Medicine (IOM) Domains

Effectiveness. Relates to providing care processes and achieving outcomes as supported by scientific evidence.

Efficiency. Relates to maximizing the quality of a comparable unit of health care delivered or unit of health benefit achieved for a given unit of health care resources used.

Equity. Relates to providing health care of equal quality to those who may differ in personal characteristics other than their clinical condition or preferences for care.

Patient centeredness. Relates to meeting patients’ needs and preferences and providing education and support.

Safety. Relates to actual or potential bodily harm.

Timeliness. Relates to obtaining needed care while minimizing delays.

The Child Health Care Quality Indicators at a Glance Matrix included in this toolbox provides some guidance about the domains included in child quality measurement sets. It is important to note that some measurement sets include measures for more than one domain.