In recent decades, there has been a national movement by mental health care consumers, providers, insurers, and policy makers to promote routine assessment and improvement in quality of care. Quality assurance fosters a system in which:
- Patients are routinely screened for psychiatric disorders and every case is detected
- All patients presenting with a psychiatric problem receive a clinical assessment and are accurately diagnosed * Access to mental health care is equitable, timely, and available
- Treatment reflects guidelines that are based on research and consensus among experts
- Medications are appropriate to diagnoses and the duration of drug treatment is adequate to achieve its intended goals
- Psychosocial interventions are well matched to patient needs and delivered according to proven models.
- Patients receive treatment at the appropriate level of care at each phase of their illness and receive continuity of care as they transition from one level to the next.
- Clinicians coordinate the patient’s care in partnership with patients, families, and case managers, bridging the gaps between facilities, therapists, and prescribing clinicians, psychiatric and primary care and among the healthcare, education and social service systems.
- Care is delivered safely with a minimum of errors, injuries or unnecessary use of coercive interventions.
Central to quality improvement is the ability to measure quality. Process measurement and outcomes assessment are two approaches to quality assurance that can be used to identify a problem with quality of care, determine its magnitude, and motivate change.
Guides to Quality Assurance
American Psychiatric Publishing, a division of the American Psychiatric Association, publishes books for psychiatrists and other mental healthcare providers and administrators on how to meet national mandates to assess and improve quality of care.
Improving Mental Health Care: A Guide to Measurement-Based Quality Improvement integrates practical information about quality measures—such as their clinical logic, validity and basis in scientific evidence—into a highly readable guide on how to implement measures and use the results to improve quality of care.
Outcome Measurement in Psychiatry offers a critical analysis of outcome assessment, in psychiatry, which allows clinicians to evaluate not only symptoms, functioning, quality of life, and perception of care, but also the standards and instruments used to judge the quality of care.
Quality Indicators: Defining and Measureing Quality in Psychiatric Care for Adults and Children combines reports from two American Psychiatric Association task forces on quality in psychiatric care for adults and children, offering a clinical framework for quality measurement that provides sample indicators of quality for health plans, facilities, and systems of care.
View a complete list of books related to quality assurance