Given the importance of quality control and improvement in healthcare systems throughout Europe, it is becoming necessary to adopt and conform to shared healthcare standards and to measure, hence make comparable, the outcomes of the care provided. This is where quality indicators come in. Quality indicators are explicitly defined and measurable items about structure, process and outcomes of care that can be used to identify areas in need of improvement1. Quality indicators are an important first step when trying to improve the quality of care provided.
In the EU funded 7th Framework IMPACT project (IMplementation of quality indicators in PAlliative Care sTudy), researchers developed a self-assessment tool based on 23 quality indicators considered most useful by a large group of international experts. This self-assessment tool can measure the quality level of any healthcare service providing palliative care. The results of the self-assessment can be used to initiate and guide quality improvement projects.
1 Campbell SM, Braspenning J, Hutchinson A, Marshall MN. Research methods used in developing and applying quality indicators in primary care. BMJ 2003, 326: 816-819.