Deutsch: Patient / Español: Paciente / Português: Paciente / Français: Patient / Italiano: Paziente

Patient in the context of quality management refers to an individual receiving or registered to receive medical treatment or care within a healthcare system. Quality management in healthcare focuses on ensuring that patients receive safe, effective, and high-quality care, aiming to improve overall patient satisfaction and outcomes.


In quality management, the term patient encompasses various aspects of care, including safety, satisfaction, and outcomes. The primary goal is to ensure that patients receive the highest standard of care while minimizing risks and errors. This involves systematic processes and protocols designed to measure, assess, and improve the quality of healthcare services.

Quality management systems in healthcare often use patient feedback and outcomes to drive improvements. This feedback can include patient satisfaction surveys, incident reports, and clinical outcome data. By analyzing this information, healthcare providers can identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to enhance the quality of care.

Historically, the focus on patient care in quality management gained prominence with the rise of patient-centered care models in the late 20th century. These models emphasize the importance of respecting patients' preferences, needs, and values, ensuring that they guide all clinical decisions. Legal regulations and accreditation standards, such as those set by organizations like the Joint Commission and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), mandate adherence to quality management practices to ensure patient safety and quality care.

Special Considerations

In quality management, special attention is given to vulnerable patient groups, such as the elderly, children, and those with chronic conditions. Ensuring equitable care and addressing specific needs are crucial components of effective quality management.

Application Areas

  • Clinical Care: Ensuring adherence to evidence-based practices and protocols to deliver safe and effective treatment.
  • Patient Safety: Implementing measures to reduce medical errors and adverse events.
  • Patient Satisfaction: Gathering and analyzing patient feedback to improve service delivery.
  • Continuous Improvement: Using data and quality improvement tools to identify and address areas needing improvement.

Well-Known Examples

  • The Joint Commission: An organization that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations in the United States, focusing on improving healthcare quality and safety.
  • NHS Quality Accounts: Annual reports by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, detailing the quality of services provided and areas for improvement.
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI): An international organization promoting quality improvement in healthcare.

Treatment and Risks

Managing patient care quality involves several challenges and risks, including:

  • Medical Errors: Misdiagnoses, medication errors, and surgical mistakes that can adversely affect patient outcomes.
  • Inconsistent Care Standards: Variability in care practices across different providers and facilities can lead to disparities in patient care quality.
  • Patient Non-compliance: Patients not following prescribed treatment plans can impact health outcomes and quality assessments.

Similar Terms

  • Healthcare Quality Assurance (QA): Systematic activities implemented in a quality system to ensure that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.
  • Patient-Centered Care: A model of care that respects and responds to individual patient preferences, needs, and values.
  • Clinical Governance: A framework through which healthcare organizations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care.



In quality management, the patient is central to all improvement efforts aimed at enhancing healthcare delivery. By focusing on patient safety, satisfaction, and outcomes, quality management ensures that healthcare services are effective, equitable, and responsive to patient needs. Regulatory frameworks and continuous feedback loops play crucial roles in maintaining and advancing the quality of patient care.


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