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Journal article

Defining and classifying clinical indicators for quality improvement

International Journal of Quality in health Care, vol. 15, issue 6 (2003) pp. 523-530

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Objective. This paper provides a brief review of deWnitions, characteristics, and categories of clinical indicators for quality improvement in health care. Analysis. Clinical indicators assess particular health structures, processes, and outcomes. They can be rate- or mean-based, providing a quantitative basis for quality improvement, or sentinel, identifying incidents of care that trigger further investi- gation. They can assess aspects of the structure, process, or outcome of health care. Furthermore, indicators can be generic measures that are relevant for most patients or disease-speciWc, expressing the quality of care for patients with speciWc diagnoses. Conclusions. Monitoring health care quality is impossible without the use of clinical indicators. They create the basis for qual- ity improvement and prioritization in the health care system. To ensure that reliable and valid clinical indicators are used, they must be designed, deWned, and implemented with scientiWc rigour.

Author-supplied keywords

  • clinical indicators
  • de w nitions
  • outcome measures
  • performance measures
  • quality improvement
  • quality of care

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  • Jan Mainz

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