Healthcare Quality background and concept

Healthcare Quality
background and concept
According to The Treaty of Lisbon (Title XIV, Article 168), Member States hold their independence in the healthcare
area. However, it states that:
‘The Union shall, in particular, encourage cooperation between the Member States to improve the complementarity
of their health services in cross-border areas…’ whereby ‘The Commission may, in close contact with the Member
States, take any useful initiative to promote such coordination, in particular initiatives aiming at the establishment
of guidelines and indicators, the organisation of exchange of best practice, and the preparation of the necessary
elements for periodic monitoring and evaluation…’.
In this remit and in close collaboration with Member
States, the European Commission considered the development of a set of common benchmarking systems for
various diseases and aspects of care as an appropriate
tool to ensure that sustainable, effective and safe European
health systems are in place. Such a harmonised and coordinated approach is even more important in the context of increasing patients’ mobility among countries.
The JRC started its activity in the healthcare quality field
by applying this concept to breast cancer care. In 2012, the
Directorate-General for Health and Consumers appointed
the JRC the task of coordinating the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC). If this concept
proves to be successful, the JRC will provide support for
its application to other diseases and healthcare services.
Citizens are at the centre of Healthcare Quality team
activities. Evidence-based quality guidelines for healthcare services will ensure that patients receive the most
effective and safest services, while allowing containment
of healthcare costs. In this regard, guidelines will consider key issues that affect patients (e.g. quality of life,
satisfaction with the services received). In addition, the
provision of complete and balanced information will be
a mandatory requirement, as this will facilitate truly informed decisions by patients.
Useful links
The functional relationship between the guidelines and
the quality assurance scheme ensuring quality in healthcare can be better clarified by the image below:
European Commission– Public Health
European Commission– Healthcare quality indicators
European Commission– eHealth policy
European Commission– Internal market for products
European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA)
European Public Health Association (EUPHA)
European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA)
European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA)
European Union Network for Patient Safety and Quality of Care (PaSQ)
World Health Organizaton Regional Office for Europe– Health systems
National Guideline Clearinghouse (USDHHS – AHRQ)
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
Guidelines International Network (G-I-N)
Developing and Evaluating Communication Strategies to Support
Informed Decisions and Practice Based on Evidence (DECIDE)
GRADE working group
Deepening our understanding of quality improvement in Europe (DUQuE)
International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua)
European Society for Quality in Healthcare (ESQH)
Systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate
healthcare [and support policy makers].
Evidence-based guidelines are essential
for the QA Scheme
Quality Assurance Scheme
The QA scheme monitors and enhances
guidelines implementation
Quality requirements for clinical aspects should correspond to key recommendations from guidelines, supported by the best available evidence.
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© European Union, 2015 • JRC94603
European Commission • Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Institute for Health and Consumer Protection
Public Health Policy Support