Clinicians, nurses, and managers in hospitals are continuously confronted by new technologies and methods that require changes to working practice. Quality systems can help to manage change while maintaining a high quality of care. A new model of quality systems inspired by the works of Donabedian has three factors: structure (resources and administration), process (culture and professional co-operation), and outcome (competence development and goal achievement). The objectives of this study were to analyse whether structure, process, and outcome can be used to describe quality systems, to analyse whether these components are related, and to discuss implications.
A questionnaire was developed and sent to a random sample of 600 hospital departments in Sweden. The adjusted response rate was 75%. The data were analysed with confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling in LISREL. This is to our knowledge the first large quantitative study that applies Donabedian's model to quality systems.
The model with relationships between structure, process, and outcome was found to be a reasonable representation of quality systems at hospital departments (p = 0.095, indicating no significant differences between the model and the data set). Structure correlated strongly with process (0.72) and outcome (0.60). Given structure, process also correlated with outcome (0.20).
The model could be used to describe and evaluate single quality systems or to compare different quality systems. It could also be an aid to implement a systematic and evidence-based system for working with quality improvements in hospital departments.
2007. Vol. 7, 104- p.