The role of organizational infrastructure in implementation of hospitals' quality improvement

Hosp Top. 2006 Winter;84(1):11-20. doi: 10.3200/HTPS.84.1.11-21.


Quality improvement (QI) is an organized approach to planning and implementing continuous improvement in performance. Although QI holds promise for improving quality of care and patient safety, hospitals that adopt QI often struggle with its implementation. This article examines the role of organizational infrastructure in implementation of quality improvement practices and structures in hospitals. The authors focus specifically on four elements of hospital support and infrastructure for QI-integrated data systems, financial support for QI, clinical integration, and information system capability. These macrolevel factors provide consistent, ongoing support for the QI efforts of clinical teams engaging in direct patient care, thus promoting institutionalization of QI. Results from the multivariate analysis of 1997 survey data on 2350 hospitals provide strong support for the hypotheses. Results signal that organizations intent upon improving quality must attend to the context in which QI efforts are practiced, and that such efforts are unlikely to be effective unless appropriate support systems are in place to ensure full implementation.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • United States