Does improving quality save money? – September 2009

Posted on November 13, 2009. Filed under: Clin Governance / Risk Mgmt / Quality, Health Economics | Tags: |

Øvretveit J (2009). Does improving quality save money? A review of evidence of which
improvements to quality reduce costs to health service providers
. London: the Health Foundation.

From the foreword:

“The most successful hospitals or primary care organisations are not the ones which just deliver the best evidence-based clinical services, or are most focused on safety, or who’s services are highly customer-oriented, or which consistently managed to balance their budgets. The most successful healthcare organisations are the ones which recognise the multi-faceted nature of their endeavour and manage to deliver across all of the dimensions of quality. For most of the last decade, organisations have become accustomed to times of plenty – their challenge has been to improve patient care and health outcomes and they have been given the resources to do so. But the impending public sector spending crisis changes this context utterly. Every manager and clinician in the country should now be asking themselves how they can continue to improve quality while also cutting costs.

There are many ways in which savings can be made. At one end of the spectrum are the easy changes, the metaphorical slash and burn activities that we have seen so often in the past but which can be so damaging. At the other end are the kinds of sweeping changes such as implementing Wanless’s fully engaged scenario (2002) or reconsidering how healthcare should be funded for which there is no political consensus right now. In the timescale required, these options are unattractive and infeasible. But between these extremes lie solutions with perhaps the greatest potential in the time frame within which the health service has to respond.” … continues

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