Quarterly scientific journal

Quality indicators as tools for measuring the quality of health care. The case of the ICU

Dimitrios Kosmidis , Antigoni Fountouki , Sotiria Koutsouki




Understanding the variability of healthcare quality can only be achieved only by collecting specific data. Intensive care units were the ideal place to implement the first efforts for quality improvement through the adjustment of indicators mainly due to the high cost and well well-organized healthcare. Quality indicators consist of data that can represent some aspects of quality and can be used as tools to improve it. The Structure, the procedures, and the patient outcomes constitute the primary basis for the detection, identification, and use of appropriate quality indicators. Surveillance indicators and safety indicators are limited by identifying individual events or phenomena that are inherently undesirable and indicate the need for further analysis and investigation in order to be avoided. «Good» indicators must be able to evaluate important and measurable aspects of quality, be scientifically proven and lead healthcare improvement. They can be applied repeatedly in a healthcare setting for internal control, monitoring and quality improvement or for benchmarking between health structures. In most of these efforts, the approaches for representative indicators concern the quality of intensive care at the interprofessional level, while the first attempts to detect quality indicators related specifically to nursing care are observed. Although quality indicators as a tool of measurement have been thoroughly discussed and suggested decades ago, the implementation of a commonly accepted set of indicators at an international level for intensive care has not yet been established.

Keywords: Quality indicators, quality measures, intensive care unit

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