What is Good Quality of Health Care?


  • Magne Nylenna Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services/University of Oslo
  • Øyvind Andresen Bjertnaes Kunnskapssenteret
  • Ingrid S. Saunes Kunnskapssenteret
  • Anne Karin Lindahl Kunnskapssenteret




A diversity of definitions of quality exists, that frequently contain aspects of complexity, relativity and subjectivity. This paper provides an overview of key components in the quality debate within health care, including different perspectives and dimensions of the quality of care. Definitions of the quality of health care reflect the characteristics of health services, and are useful for measurements and quality improvement. Over time the patient perspective of quality has gotten increasing weight, and in quality improvement there has been a shift from individual responsibility for doctors and health care personnel to systems thinking. We argue that the quality approach in health care should be more standardized and that health care-specific definitions of quality should be used when the relationship between physician professionalism and quality is investigated.

Keywords: quality, health care, systems thinking, patient perspective, outcome, indicator, measurement, improvement.


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How to Cite

Nylenna, M., Bjertnaes, Øyvind A., Saunes, I. S., & Lindahl, A. K. (2015). What is Good Quality of Health Care?. Professions and Professionalism, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/pp.909

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