Pham Dinh Ba, Ph.d- Toronto University, Canada
On August 28, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released the new report “Crossing the Global Quality Chasm: Improving Health Care Worldwide”.(1)
The report addressed a series of key questions, including – What are the consequences of poor-quality health care in developing countries, in terms of avoidable morbidity, mortality, and loss of productivity? What promising system-wide solutions may facilitate quality improvements and build capacity for widespread progress? What are the priorities for advancing quality improvement? The report also examined ways that health care can be systematically improved globally while expanding access to preventive and therapeutic services, with a special emphasis on low-resource areas.
The report suggests that current health care systems cannot reliably achieve the levels of quality that patients need and have a right to expect. Their designs are inadequate to that task and their fundamental redesign—built on what currently exists and functions—is required. Many countries have already integrated elements of person-centered care into their health care systems and can provide lessons to help guide future efforts. In the systems of the future, the needs of citizens and the patients will need to come first, shaping the demand for and the design and delivery of care. Health systems need to embrace a vision of the patient journey that is anticipatory, not reactive, and wholly centered on continually improving the experience of patients, families, and communities.
Of particular relevant to Vietnam, one chapter on corruption in the report suggests that it is critical for governments and societies to create better governance structures that are accountable and transparent, build safeguards both within and outside of health care systems to decrease corruption, and improve health outcomes for populations. Until this is accomplished on a national scale for many countries, universal health care may be subverted to enrich the powerful and leave vulnerable populations without adequate care. In essence, integrity is, if not a domain of quality itself, an essential precondition for the pursuit of quality in health care.
By now we do know that the communist party in Vietnam is incapable of managing virtually nothing effectively. Are Vietnamese civil societies prepared to take part in the endeavor to close the quality chasm in quality of care for patients and families? What do university students think about their roles and responsibilities towards this huge challenge? What do members of the Vietnamese Doctors and Pharmacist Union; a network of Vietnamese physicians, pharmacists and volunteers acting for the poor everywhere; plan to do about the above suggestions? Asking these questions is the first step in a long journey towards better care for all.
Pham Dinh Ba
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