EU Science Hub

Healthcare quality

Healthcare quality is the extent to which health services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. Care should be evidence-based and provided in a technically and culturally competent manner with good communication and shared decision making. Eurostat has reported differences in the quality of care provided across European countries; which are highlighted by discrepancies between incidence and mortality for several diseases, including cancer. Therefore, ensuring a basic level of healthcare quality and safety to all European citizens is a priority.

Our work focusses on many aspects of quality including quality assurance and assessment, certification, benchmarking, management and clinical auditing, external assessment, quality and safety, quality improvement, performance measurement, quality monitoring, standardisation in healthcare, as well as the development and evaluation of evidence-based guidelines.

We aim to provide citizens with a high degree of confidence in healthcare services, via

  • the provision of evidence-based guidelines and
  • the implementation and auditing, within the accreditation legal frame, of a set of quality standards (quality assurance scheme) based on these guidelines.

Our methods include the involvement of citizens, experts and stakeholders at all stages through the use of open consultation, consensus, standardisation and peer evaluation. Transparency and inclusiveness are key elements. The impact of our work means increased visibility (short term), implementation of European Quality Assurance scheme and evidence-based guidelines (intermediate), and improvement in health outcomes (long term).

The main activties of the Healthcare Quality Team are the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC) and the European Commission Initiative on Colorectal Cancer (ECICC).