Lessons from Europe on quality improvement: report on the Velen Castle WHO meeting.

A. W. Wu, K. S. Johansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: In conjunction with the German Ministry of Health, the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO/EURO) held a workshop, "Experiences with Quality Management in an International Context," at Velen Castle, Velen (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Germany, January 15-17, 1998. The approximately 50 participants were selected in part on the basis of recommendations of their respective countries' health ministries. IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Possible ways to introduce quality management ranged from introduction of specific process control projects to total quality management (TQM) and reengineering. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTING QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Working group sessions identified specific strategies for high-level managers, health care providers, and various kinds of consumers to facilitate quality management. For example, managers need to transmit a vision, create a quality management infrastructure, develop reporting structures, establish a system of incentives, and manage the hospital according to the principles of continuous improvement. QUALITY MANAGEMENT MODELS AND TOOLS: Hospitals and other health care providers in Sweden are testing various methods and systems to assess and improve their organizations' ability to meet patients' demands. Benchmarking is being used as a tool for quality management of diabetes care (DiabCare-France). The benchmarking data are processed centrally and made available to the health care providers in a user-friendly format for application to their own quality improvement processes. Clinical databases-registries containing process and outcome data for a well-defined patient population-can be used for quality and technology assessment, to answer questions of treatment effectiveness, and as an information tool. PRINCIPLES AND STRATEGIES FOR QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: Successful implementation of quality improvement benefits from local, professional, and national policies and objectives. A balance of incentives can reward efficiency or specific activities. Laws, rules, and regulations can be useful, especially if used sparingly. More education is needed at all levels of the health care system about how to understand and use information and information systems. Research is needed on what processes result in favorable outcomes. Despite optimism about the cost-saving potential of quality improvement efforts, many interventions are likely to be cost-effective without actually saving costs. Public release of performance data requires careful consideration, with participation of the professions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalThe Joint Commission journal on quality improvement
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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