What are the six domains of healthcare quality? According to a recent report from the Rand Corporation, these include patient safety, provider quality, therapeutic services, infection control and management, and outcomes. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.
In patient safety, this includes the proper tools and equipment used by physicians and other health care providers in administering treatments and procedures. In its most basic form, patient safety relates to the provision of high standards of cleanliness, staffing, proper use of medication, maintaining communication between staff and patients, and maintaining sterile environments. In the area of provider quality, this relates to the skill and/or care given by a physician or other health care provider to his or her patients. Provider quality also involves the provision of adequate care and treatment for patients, and the provision of services and amenities that enhance the well-being of the patient.
Infection control and management are related to the prevention of diseases through a systematic approach. It includes testing for and treating a disease when it is detected. It also involves educating patients and their caregivers on the appropriate methods of caring for a particular infection. A wide range of preventative services is provided. This includes educating patients about the signs and symptoms of a cold and flu, about the need to rest adequately and physically between activities to help prevent infections, and more.
Therapeutic services include assessments, diagnosis, and the provision of therapy either through specialized care or general patient care. These include the careful observation of a patient and his or her environment, as well as the skill and/or care given by physicians and other health care providers to patients with illnesses. Quality improvement refers to the improvement of patient care and the quality of patient care.
When evaluating quality of care, healthcare quality revolves around 6 specific facets of patient care. The first facet is infection control. This includes preventing bacterial diseases through a regular schedule of health screenings and other tests. Screening can also involve the use of antibiotics for illnesses that are not communicable. In addition, other services are offered in the patient’s home or community, including care in a nursing home or other health care facility, transportation to and from medical appointments, and assistance with daily personal hygiene. A higher level of patient privacy is maintained at all times.
The second facet focuses on the physical aspects of care. Physical exams identify conditions early on, which helps reduce the need for medical intervention and treatments. These include immunizations and screenings for diabetes, cardiac conditions, asthma, cancer, and obesity. Other facets of patient care include monitoring and measuring the patient’s heart rate, pulse, temperature, and blood pressure; collecting urine and stool samples for laboratory testing; and using equipment to monitor vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature.
The third dimension of care involves the emotional health of the patient. Emotional well-being depends on the ability to communicate with others and handle stress and other emotions. Healthcare quality measures the emotional well-being of the patient by asking questions about family and friends, whether the patient feels lonely or depressed, and how he or she copes with stress and frustration. Quality improvement programs may include counseling, group activities, or yoga to help patients cope with stress and frustration.
The last six domains of healthcare quality are safety, cleanliness, and infection control. These aspects of quality are related to the physical environment in which healthcare providers work. Cleanliness reflects the cleaning of hands and surfaces, as well as eliminating infection-causing germs. Safety also includes the use of protective gear, such as gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection. Infection control encompasses using clean equipment to wash and sanitize hands and other surfaces, preventing the spread of diseases and bacteria. All of these aspects of quality are related to the physical environment, which affects the patient’s physical and mental health.