Methods of Quality Measurement

Methods of Quality Measurement

The work of Pope and Mays (2000) defines the methods as the approaches employed to measure the characteristics or attributes of a service or a product quantitatively. Lighter, Fair and Lighter (2004) argue that the tools ensure the existence of a planned and systematic means that provide assurance that a specified undertaking has adhered to the defined quality standards, practices, procedures as well as the due processes. As Pope and Mays (2000) point out, quality measurement in health care system entails application of data to assess the level of performance of diverse aspects such as health plans. The information also evaluates the quality of service delivery among health care providers against recognized quality standards. The work of Lighter, Fair and Lighter (2004) shows that health care quality measures take multiple forms and undertake an evaluation of care across entire health care settings for example from doctors’ offices, facilities and hospital systems.

Measuring quality in health care avails information on the system’s performance and highlights areas requiring due improvement. The measurement methods fine-tune health care quality. Applications of the techniques provide solutions to medical problems such as chronic underuse, overuse, and misuse of services. Turning to Lighter et al., (2004), one finds that medical measurement methods penetrate and undertake in and out care assessment across the entire continuum of health care delivery. The techniques address quality issues from the level of individual physicians all the way to health insurance plans. The paper will outline a comprehensive summary of healthcare measurement methods and how the techniques realize organizational effectiveness.

A study by Lighter et al., (2004) shows that health care quality measurement methods have four broad categories. The divisions include structure, process, and outcome as well as patient experience measurement techniques.

Structure measurement quality measurement methods

The work of Lighter et al., (2004) shows that the tools under the method undertake an evaluation of healthcare infrastructure settings for example doctors and hospital offices. The measures assess the ability of the structures to deliver care. Lighter et al., (2004) perceptively assert that the structure tests include facility staffing, the medical staff competencies, policy environment as well as the availability and sufficiency of resources within a medical facility. The structure quality measurement method, for example, assesses whether an intensive care unit (ICU) have to its disposal critical care specialists at all times. Insurance companies often employ structure method in determining whether an individual provider has requisite capacities to deliver high-quality health care (Lighter et al., 2004). The technique, for example, assesses the availability of a system in hospitals used in ordering drug prescription electronically.

Fulfilment of the measures by health care centres as well as other individual providers leads to accreditation and certification of health plans.  In a study of Lighter et al., (2004), Pope and Mays (2000) found that inefficient health care structures can considerably compromise the quality of medical care. Meeting the due standards leads to provision of high-quality care. Pope and Mays (2000) further explain that structure measure provides data regarding the capacity of a provider i.e. availing a vivid picture of whether a hospital can perform health care functions. An example of a quality structural measure includes an assessment undertaken to check the availability of a hand hygiene protocol in a hospital and whether a physician uses computerised order entry for drug prescription. According to (Lighter et al., 2004) structure measures assesses a health plan to check services availed as well as the overall performance of health care providers in the plan’s network.


Process measurement method

Reference to Lighter et al., (2004) reveals that the quality measurement methods determine the degree and the consistency to which health care providers give patients services in line with stipulated guidelines for care. Process measures work in coordination with treatment procedures to improve healthcare status as well as to eliminate any potential complications. Pope and Mays (2000) have drawn attention to the fact that process measures assess whether patients receive necessary recommended quality standards or not. Lighter et al., (2004) postulate that the test primarily focuses on preventive health care as well as management of chronic conditions. Moreover, the method undertakes quality checks on the viability of teamwork and health care organization structure. The process measures reflect on professional standards of care to improve outcomes. Pope and Mays (2000) rightly point out that process measures avail to healthcare providers’ a clear and actionable feedback to improve performance. The technique highlights areas requiring modification to improve the quality of healthcare provision (Lighter et al., 2004). The method tracks performance and administers provider’s incentives.

Outcome measurement method

The techniques applied to evaluate a patient’s health status after receiving health care. Outcome measures focus on the effects or result either intended or unintended that the care received has on the client’s health and function. Lighter et al., (2004) assert that the method also assesses the realization of health care goal by providers. The assessment conducted checks the improvement of a patient’s health and incorporate information regarding a patient’s satisfaction after receiving healthcare service (Peloso, 2002). An example of outcome measures includes an evaluation of the amputation rate for patients suffering diabetes, the percentage of cancer clients going into remission as well as the quality of pain alleviation for individuals who had a knee surgery (Pope and Mays, 2000).

 Improvement of organizational effectiveness

The quality measurement methods lead to efficiency in health care provision by preventing overuse, underuse, and misuse of healthcare as well as ensuring the safety of patients. Furthermore, the methods improve organizational effectiveness by holding accountable health insurance plans as well as health care providers in the provision of high-quality care (Lighter et al., 2004). Helping clients make informed decisions regarding personal health also amount to organizational effectiveness. Institutionalizing the measurement methods realizes efficiency through the incorporation of diagnostic, treatment and educational measures leading to better outcomes. Pope and Mays (2000) elaborate that the methods achieve organizational effectiveness through reduction of risk of harm from health services leading to promotion of best possible care.

Health care setting become efficient by applying the quality measurement methods and undergoing a medical transformation to achieve broad access to effective services and reduction of unnecessary costs and wastes (Lighter et al., 2004). Quality measurement methods improve the outcome of health care by encouraging the use of evidence-based data by physicians, consumers and patients to make informed treatment decisions (Institute of Medicine, Adams & Corrigan, 2003). The healthcare quality measurement methods discussed should be employed during construction of health care settings, when training medical physicians as well as during provision of health care to patients to achieve best results (Pope and Mays, 2000).



Institute of Medicine, Adams, K., & Corrigan, J. (2003). Priority areas for national action: Transforming health care quality. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Lighter, D. E., Fair, D. C., & Lighter, D. E. (2004). Quality management in health care: Principles and methods. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Peloso, J. (2002). Health care quality. New York: H.W. Wilson.

Pope, C., & Mays, N. (2000). Qualitative research in health care. London: BMJ Books.

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