Quality standards articulate what it means to provide and receive high-quality care and reduce unwarranted variation of treatment within BC’s health care system.
What Are Quality Standards?
Quality standards focus on areas of the patient journey where the need for improving quality is the greatest. In this way, they differ from best practice guidelines that aim to describe all aspects of treatment and care for a condition.
Quality standards articulate what it means to provide and receive high-quality care and reduce unwarranted variation of treatment within BC’s health care system. Each standard is written as a set of concise statements and associated indicators that outline high-quality care that patients should expect to be offered or receive.
Quality standards support:
- People to understand the care offered by their health care system, and to make informed decisions in partnership with their health care teams;
- Health care professionals to make decisions about appropriate care; and
- Health care organizations to examine their systems and policies and improve the care they provide.
Each quality standard is accompanied by a guide for patients, families and caregivers that will help to inform discussions regarding their care.
Quality statements describe priority areas for improvement within the BC health system. Unwarranted variation occurs when the care someone receives is not what is expected and is not the result of their individual circumstances or choices. Quality statements aim to reduce areas of unwarranted variation by focusing improvement efforts where it is needed the most and outline the care that should be offered to people.
Quality statements require monitoring using associated quality indicators in order to track if care is meeting the standard or being improved. Quality indicators are intended to measure the progress towards meeting each quality statement.
How Are Quality Standards Developed?
The development of the quality standards is led by the Council and includes a call for public consultation before being finalized. Quality standards are shaped by a committee made up of health care professionals, patients and representatives from a range of health care organizations with expertise in that area of care. They are evidence-informed and combine best practice as well as the expertise of all members of the committee.
Quality standards fall under the Provincial Health Services Authority’s (PHSA) mandate for provincial clinical policy. As is best practice, the standard setting function has been separated from other provincial clinical policy functions.
What is the Next Quality Standard?
Stroke has been identified as the first area of focus for quality standard development. Public consultation for the Stroke Quality Standard is now open!