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Comparative analysis of quality assurance in health care delivery and higher medical education

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Jamiu O BusariDepartment of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The NetherlandsAbstract: Quality assurance (QA) in higher medical education involves the development, sustenance, improvement, and evaluation of the standard of training of medical professionals. In health care delivery, QA focuses on guaranteeing and maintaining a high standard of the service provided in different health care systems. When the service delivered by the care provider is in accordance with what the recipients of health care expect, then quality in health care is considered to be present. There are several factors in higher medical education and health care that are responsible for the emergence of QA. These include externally imposed obligations requiring demonstration of public accountability and responsibility from educational institutions, as well as the need for activity-specific information by policy makers as an aid for important decision-making within educational institutions. In health care delivery on the other hand, the emergence of QA is linked to the need for containing rising health care costs in the face of limited resources and to guaranteeing high quality patient care in a changing health care environment where the power relationship between doctors and patients is shifting towards patients. Although medical education can be regarded as a distinct entity in the health care industry, it still remains an inherent part of the health care delivery system. As a result, different strategies aimed at guaranteeing and assuring high standards of health care and education in many countries tend to overlap. This paper reflects on whether quality assurance in health care delivery and medical education should be seen as separate entities.Keywords: quality assurance, health care, higher medical education

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