oa South African Family Practice - The value of medicine in improving the quality of care : open forum
Patients expect the provision of quality care from the healthcare system, whether they are in the public sector or the private sector. One method amongst many of ensuring the provision of quality care is through the use of medicine. This paper aims to answer the question: what is the value of medicine and how is this related to the quality of the care that patients receive? To this end, the paper explores these concepts through a structured approach, firstly discussing the value and quality of care. By drawing on debates that have taken place in the international literature and applying these to the South African environment, an approach is provided to discuss the quality of care patients receive within the context of medicine consumption. Numerous tools are provided, including the three dimensions of quality and the different perspectives on quality. To improve the quality of care, consideration should be given to the regulatory framework, continuous quality improvement models, market competition and payment incentives. The paper has not aimed to provide readymade solutions for quality gaps in the healthcare system, nor does it pretend that a solution is easily achievable without concerted effort from all healthcare stakeholders. The paper makes a contribution to the growing body of knowledge accessible to healthcare stakeholders with which to discuss the value of medicine in improving quality of care.
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