Unit 5. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement
Quality Assurance & Quality Improvement

Section 1. The Vision for Quality

Quality Improvement

QI encourages a proactive prevention approach, where quality is built into the work processes that produce a product or service. Because this approach focuses on assessing and taking action while the process is in progress, detecting product or service defects is no longer the job of inspectors. Recognizing the potential for defects—and doing something about it before the outcome is complete—is the job of everyone involved in the process. QI activities are most frequently accomplished by teams of individuals who are knowledgeable about the process needing improvement. 
The essence of QI includes:

  • Satisfying customers
  • Eliminating waste
  • Promoting a culture that encourages ethical, open, respectful, and participative behavior (i.e., QI teams)
  • Formalizing systems based on data and continuous improvement

QI, as opposed to QA, focuses on the processes and systems that drive the health care organization. Because of this focus, QI is generally more palatable to health professionals than QA, which focuses on their level of competence.