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IQ healthcare, NIVEL and iBMG are joining forces on research into the quality of Dutch healthcare.
In the Netherlands the quality of healthcare is high but there are large quality differences between care institutions and providers. For patients this means that where they are treated can make a big difference to them. The Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has now outlined plans for an institute for quality of healthcare in the Netherlands. One of its tasks will be to promote the use of guidelines and unified care practices. Working alongside this new institute, the Institute of Health Policy and Management (iBMG), NIVEL (Netherlands institute for health services research) and IQ healthcare will start a research program to study Dutch policy on the quality of healthcare and the implementation of improvements.
The research lines of the proposed consortium fit in well with the plan of the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) to reach a national agenda and program for research into the quality of healthcare.
High-quality healthcare is of paramount importance and due to the following developments is becoming even more important: the increase in the number of people with a chronic condition; the graying of the population; a shift in the traditional roles played by patients and professionals; rising healthcare costs and, scarcity on the labor market.
In the past, however, improving the quality of healthcare has proved to be both difficult and complex. Not all healthcare improvement projects have produced the expected results. Research into which factors influence the quality of healthcare and into interventions in this area is essential in order to make a breakthrough. The current method of funding research through many smaller short-term projects results in a fragmentation of knowledge on subsections of subjects, on separate healthcare sectors and on scientific research groups.
The Netherlands needs to have a coordinated structured framework of its knowledge and expertise regarding the quality of healthcare. To achieve this, a vision into the future research agenda that is tuned to the national healthcare policy is necessary. For this purpose, three large Dutch research institutes, iBMG, IQ healthcare and the NIVEL have formed a consortium with a collective research goal that focuses on solving existing problem areas and preventing others in the future.
The consortium approaches quality from four related perspectives: the perspective of patients and clients, the perspective of healthcare professionals, the organizational perspective and the societal perspective. These perspectives are not independent at all – they influence and overlap each other.
The goal of the consortium is to build up sustainable knowledge and expertise regarding the quality of care which will add to the evidence-based quality improvements in Dutch healthcare. This concerns not only the major problems that currently dominate policy agendas but also problem areas and challenges for the future. In order to realize these ambitions, a long-term perspective for the actions of the consortium is necessary which will last from five to ten years. The consortium will commence its activities in 2011. Its aim is that through combining an infrastructure of research and knowledge on the quality of healthcare in the Netherlands, it will develop into a center of expertise on this subject which will be of global renown.