In the past your magazine has run articles related to quality in healthcare. I contend the central issue is how to make quality matter from a leadership perspective.
It is not primarily up to employers, public purchasers of healthcare or consumers to raise awareness of quality, but up to leaders to recognize deficiencies and opportunities and establish the direction to get us to higher levels of patient safety and quality.
In the current environment, quality in healthcare organizations emphasizes accreditation and regulatory compliance. Regulatory demands and increasing pressures to contain costs and reduce reimbursement have the grave potential to further erode the healthcare infrastructure and quality.
Fundamental change must occur with leadership. Leadership must not assume or delegate quality but must make it part of everyone's job, with systems designed to encourage improvement, individuals rewarded for participating in and leading efforts to change, and accountability demanded.
Instead of debating the definition of quality, the difference between process and outcomes measures, or the validity of risk adjustment, let's argue about how to get the job done-the right way and now.
Senior director of quality
University of Pennsylvania