Would it work for us? Learning from quality improvement in Europe and beyond

Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 1997 Jan;23(1):7-22. doi: 10.1016/s1070-3241(16)30290-5.


DEVELOPING QUALITY TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY AND TRANSFERABILITY ASSESSMENT: Transferring a method or an approach that works in one organization to another organization may not produce the same effect. The result in one setting is an effect of the method or approach working within that system, not just an effect of the method or approach alone.

The context for quality improvement (qi): To better understand QI activities in a particular country, five aspects of the QI context need to be considered--the health care system, social values, health reform, history of quality assurance, and the language and politics of quality. For example, differences in terminology, even within one region of a country, undermine transferability of quality approaches and methods. LEARNING FROM OTHERS' SOLUTIONS AND STRATEGIES: The methods used to learn from others can be improved by seeking out reports describing the context of the improvement, by carefully deciding which facilities to visit and which conferences and networking events to attend, and by developing skills in judging transferability and in adapting others' strategies.

Conclusion: Similar changes in health care in most countries are creating a climate more conducive to QI methods than in the past, and there is more experience with these methods and there are more examples of their successful application. Learning from others has more benefits than finding solutions to one's own quality problems. By examining others' approaches to QI one may become aware of issues that have been ignored or that are latent problems in one's own organization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Europe
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • International Educational Exchange*
  • Politics
  • Social Values
  • Technology Transfer*
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration*