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Improving Quality

Improving the quality of health care delivery and patient safety continues to be a political concern and has been at the heart of reform issues for many years. The American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have increased awareness of health care quality and safety issues, as well as advocated for health care reform. The documents featured at the ANA and IOM websites listed in this week’s Learning Resources focus on many of the current issues surrounding quality and safety in the health care industry.

To prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing on the Six Aims for Improvement presented in the landmark report “Crossing the Quality Chasm: The IOM Health Care Quality Initiative.”
  • Consider these six aims with regard to your current organization, or one with which you are familiar. In what areas have you seen improvement? What areas still present challenges? As a nurse leader, how can you contribute to improving the organization’s achievement of these aims?
  • Select one specific quality or safety issue that is presenting a challenge in the organization. Consider at least one quality improvement strategy that could be used to address the issue, as well as which of the six aims for improvement would then be addressed.
  • Reflect on your professional practice and your experiences with inter-professional collaboration to improve quality and safety. How has inter-professional collaboration contributed to your organization’s efforts to realize the IOM’s six aims for improving health care? Where has inter-professional collaboration been lacking?

The proper implementation of policy that addresses population health issues frequently can stimulate change in individual behaviors. Consider, for example, cigarette smoking. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that the number of adults living in smoke-free homes increased from 43% in 1992 to 79% in 2007 (RWJF, 2009). During that time period, many states were adopting the Indoor Clean Air Act and prohibiting smoking in public places. These actions may have made cigarette smoking less socially acceptable, thus encouraging many adult smokers to quit. How can such initiatives affect population health?

Policy-driven initiatives and government-funded programs increasingly focus on prevention to address potentially problematic behaviors at the population level, thereby reducing costs associated with acute and chronic care. As noted in Week 4, one of the advantages of focusing on population health versus individual health is the ability to concentrate on specific problems that affect large groups. This week, you will examine strategies for addressing behavioral risk factors in a particular population. You will also consider characteristics of effective health care prevention programs.


Good Reads. (2012). Quotable quotes: Aristotle. Retrieved from


Last Updated on February 14, 2019 by