According to HRSA, quality improvement (QI) generally describes ongoing monitoring and improvement processes aimed at improving prioritized service and care aspects. It is a patient/client-driven philosophy that focuses on preventing problems and maximizing quality of care outcomes.
All DSHS staff have responsibilities for the assessment and the improvement of processes to support quality in service delivery. The DSHS HIV/STD Quality Management (QM) program involves two distinct areas of quality. One focus of quality is quality assurance (QA), which requires assurance that all funded services adhere to applicable laws, standards, rules, regulations and contractual requirements. The other arm of QM is Quality Improvement (QI) which supports processes for improving the services provided to the clients, e.g. accessibility, appropriateness, continuity, effectiveness, efficiency, patient satisfaction, safety of the environment, timeliness of care, and reducing disparities in care.
The HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) has defined "quality" as the degree to which a health or service meets or exceeds established professional standards and user expectations. Evaluation of the quality of care should consider a) the quality of the inputs, b) the quality of the service delivery process, and c) the quality of outcomes, in order to continuously improve systems of care for individuals and populations. This definition has been adopted from the Institute of Medicine's definition (Institute of Medicine. 1990. Medicare: A Strategy for Quality Assurance, Vol. 2. ed. Kathleen Lohr. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press)
Description of DSHS HIV/STD QM Program