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What is the difference between patient safety and quality?

The difference between patient safety and quality has been debated for some time. Safety was described as one of the 6 elements of quality healthcare in a 2001 Institute of Medicine report called “Crossing the Quality Chasm.” Patient safety is recognized as an important element of an effective, efficient healthcare system.
  • Safety has to do with lack of harm; quality has to do with efficient, effective, purposeful care that gets the job done at the right time for the right cost.
  • Safety focuses on avoiding bad events, quality focuses on doing things well.
  • Safety makes it less likely that mistakes happen. Quality raises the ceiling so the overall care experience is a better one.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.