Project officer's perspective: quality assurance as a management tool

QA Brief. 1993 Jun;2(1):1-4.


PIP: Advances in the management of health programs in less developed countries (LDC) have not kept pace with the progress of the technology used. The US Agency for International Development mandated the Quality Assurance Project (QAP) to provide quality improvement technical assistance to primary health care systems in LDCs while developing appropriate quality assurance (QA) strategies. The quality of health care in recent years in the US and Europe focused on the introduction of management techniques developed for industry into health systems. The experience of the QAP and its predecessor, the PRICOR Project, shows that quality improvement techniques facilitate measurement of quality of care. A recently developed WHO model for the management of the sick child provides scientifically based standards for actual care. Since 1988, outside investigators measuring how LDC clinicians perform have revealed serious deficiencies in quality compared with the program's own standards. This prompted developed of new QA management initiatives: 1) communicating standards clearly to the program staff; 2) actively monitoring actual performance corresponds to these standards; and 3) taking action to improve performance. QA means that managers are expected to monitor service delivery, undertake problem solving, and set specific targets for quality improvement. Quality improvement methods strengthen supervision as supervisors can objectively assess health worker performance. QA strengthens the management functions that support service delivery, e.g., training, records management, finance, logistics, and supervision. Attention to quality can contribute to improved health worker motivation and effective incentive programs by recognition for a job well done and opportunities for learning new skills. These standards can also address patient satisfaction. QA challenges managers to aim for the optimal level of care attainable.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Government Agencies*
  • Health
  • Health Services
  • Health Services Research
  • Motivation*
  • Organization and Administration*
  • Organizations
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychology
  • Quality Control*
  • Quality of Health Care*