The Definition of Healthcare Quality and the Institute of Medicine


The Institute of Medicine defines healthcare quality as the extent to which health services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. The care should be based on the strongest clinical evidence and provided in a technically and culturally competent manner with good communication and shared decision making.

Total quality is best defined as an attitude, an orientation that permeates an entire organization, and the way in which that organization performs its internal and external business. People who work in organizations dedicated to the concept of total quality constantly strive for excellence and continuous quality improvement in all that they do.

Pelletier & Beaudin, PhD, Q Solutions: Essential Resources for the Healthcare Quality Professional, Second Edition, (Glenview, IL: National Association for Healthcare Quality, 2008); p.3.

The Six Aims of The Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine has designed six “aims” for improving the delivery of care in the United States. PeerPoint keeps these aims in mind when creating unique programming with a goal of improving patient outcomes.

  1. Safe
    1. Avoiding preventable injuries, reducing medical errors
  2. Effective
    1. Providing services based on scientific knowledge (clinical guidelines)
  3. Patient Centered
    1. Care that is respectful and responsive to individuals
  4. Efficient
    1. Avoiding wasting time and other resources
  5. Timely
    1. Reducing wait times, improving the practice flow
  6. Equitable
    1. Consistent care regardless of patient characteristics and demographics