Quality is foremost a state of mind in healthcare.

This is a guest post by:

Prof. dr. A.J. Duits

Quality care that is patient centered has become an important factor in healthcare. The terms primary healthcare and value-based healthcare referring to the organization of healthcare have quality as an important component.

Furthermore the focus of attention has shifted from disease and cure to health and behavior. It is clear that much improvement can be achieved by working not only in a more efficient manner, but also by organizing our healthcare in such a way that the existing fragmentation of services can be significantly reduced (like in the integrated health service delivery network as propagated by the Pan American Health Organization).

The constant request for more funds and services as a result of better technology, new drugs and aging populations can only be effectively met by increased efficiency, reorganization and redistribution of current available finances.

With all this in mind it is obvious that most of the above mentioned aspects of the healthcare paradigm shift could be derived from the understanding (and believing in) a quality approach.

The redesign of processes, reorganizing several pauci-independent procedures in an efficient collaborative way requires a clear (modern) view on quality in the context of healthcare by the individual professionals involved. Most of the time we tend to forget that professionals at all levels are asked to implement all of these changes from their current setting and workplace, that most of the time is characterized by high intensity and work load.

In a rather naïve way we most of the time assume the reasons and goals for change to be logical and therefore its implementation to be guaranteed. For some professionals to leave a perceived “comfort zone” for something new is a rather daunting task and requires further understanding of this “comfort zone” and investment in understanding the state of mind of the professionals involved.

That is “the why change” should be related to the “why should we change” in order to achieve “the how to change”.

Next we tend to forget that a crucial aspect of the healthcare paradigm shift is communication and collaboration between professionals. These competencies require specific skills and training that have too long been neglected in the medical professional arena.

Therefore first and foremost we should invest in human capital quality as a key component of any quality driven restructuring of healthcare. We all should be assured that the necessities for achieving a “new quality state of mind” of all professionals involved have been met (or minimally met by a critical mass of the whole group) in order to improve our healthcare services and to meet in an effective, equitable and responsible way the needs of each and every patient.


Prof. dr. A.J. Duits          dr_duits.jpg

About the author

Prof. dr. A.J. Duits is a medical immunologist and director of the Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation Curaçao. He has a chair at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands in Medical Education with focus on quality.

He is a EUBIS (European Blood Inspection System) trained quality professional and a PAHO advisor on blood banks in the Caribbean.

Prof. Duits has authored more than 80 scientific papers on a vast area of topics including sickle cell disease, HIV, infectious diseases, medical education and quality in healthcare.


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