Basics of quality improvement in health care

Mayo Clin Proc. 2007 Jun;82(6):735-9. doi: 10.4065/82.6.735.


With the rapid expansion of knowledge and technology and a health care system that performs far below acceptable levels for ensuring patient safety and needs, front-line health care professionals must understand the basics of quality improvement methodologies and terminology. The goals of this review are to provide clinicians with sufficient information to understand the fundamentals of quality improvement, provide a starting point for improvement projects, and stimulate further inquiry into the quality improvement methodologies currently being used in health care. Key quality improvement concepts and methodologies, including plan-do-study-act, six-sigma, and lean strategies, are discussed, and the differences between quality improvement and quality-of-care research are explored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / economics*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Risk Management / organization & administration*