Quality improvement (QI) is defined as the systematic approach to measuring and identifying gaps between actual and desired quality of care and applying tools and improvement methods to make changes to the system that result in measurable and sustainable improvements (i.e., "closing the gap"). QI occurs at all levels of the health care system and it is important to have physician involvement at each level. In 2001 the Institute of Medicine issued a report—Crossing the Quality Chasm—which identified 6 quality aims for healthcare—safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered (STEEEP).
Dr. Christine Walsh-Kelly and colleagues have developed a webpage with the basic resources needed to conduct a successful quality improvement initiative, including multiple QI tools to help gather and accurately interpret data. In addition there is a section on Patient Safety, several key publications and links to internal and external QI websites, resources and training sites for more comprehensive information: http://www.med.unc.edu/pediatrics/about/quality