Better care quality needed for universal health coverage

(HealthDay)—In order to achieve universal health coverage, stakeholders must focus on the quality of health services, including provision of effective, safe, timely, equitable, integrated, and efficient health services, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.

According to the report, quality of care is suboptimal in many countries, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Improvement in quality of health care will improve health outcomes. Governments, policymakers, health system leaders, patients, and clinicians should work together to ensure a high-quality health workforce; excellence across health care facilities; safe and effective use of medicine, devices, and technologies; and effective use of health information systems. They should also work to develop financing mechanisms that support continuous improvement in quality.

In order to improve quality, interventions should include changing front-line clinical practice; setting standards; engaging and empowering patients, families, and communities; and providing information and education. Each of the key constituencies should work together to enable better and safer health care to be realized. Governments should develop national quality policy and strategy; health systems should implement evidence-based interventions; citizens and patients should be empowered to actively engage in care; and health care workers should participate in quality measurement and improvement with their patients.

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