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Quality Assurance Versus Quality Control, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 707

Research Paper

Quality Assurance (QA): Describes a set of activities aimed at preventing defects and inconsistencies in the process of delivering health care services. It is proactive in nature. The goal of quality assurance is to increase efficiency in test and treatment processes so that defects do not arise during or at the end of healthcare (Jacob et al, 2000).

Quality Control (QC): Aims at identifying mistakes in the finished product or rather medical process. Therefore, unlike quality assurance, it is a reactive process. The goal of quality control is to identify defects in the healthcare system and suggests measures to mitigate such defects in future (Pacey, 2010).

Whereas quality control encompasses a set of activities specifically designed to monitor a developed medical product, equipment, or service, quality assurance is a set of activities designed to ensure that healthcare developments and maintenance measures are sufficient and that the system meets its aims (Toni, 2003). In other words, quality control is concerned at detecting anomalies or defects in the health care delivered and verifying if the defined sets of requirements fall within the confines of prescribed requirements. Testing the quality of a treatment is one example of quality control activity (Jacob et al, 2000).

On the other hand, quality assurance seeks to ensure that health care procedures are appropriate and well defines. The development of health care standards and methodology are some of examples of quality assurance activities. A quality assurance review in healthcare system focuses on process aspect of delivering healthcare. For example, the review would seek to establish if the requirements are defined in details and within the confines that are proper and acceptable (Toni, 2003).

The main difference between quality control and quality assurance is that while the latter is process oriented, the former is concerned more about the product or the quality of service delivered. Since testing verifies the quality of service or product delivered, it squarely falls under the domain of quality control (Pacey, 2010). This implies that when a health care service or product is subject to quality testing, it is its quality that is being controlled and not its quality assurance. Another difference between QC and QA is that while QA seeks to ensure that medics conduct treatments in the right manner, QC ensures that the results are as per expected outcomes (Pacey, 2010).

In as much as QA and QC are different in terms of the implied meanings, the two processes are interdependent. In the medical field, the quality assurance department depends heavily on the feedback they received from the quality control department. It is worth noting that QA comes before QC. However, QA cannot depend entirely on the measures undertaken unless the results justify the process and the measures employed. As such, QA is a proactive process aimed at preventing defects in health care process whereas QC is corrective process aimed at identifying defects and correcting them (Pacey, 2010).

Examples of quality assurance activities are as follows:

  • Using right surgical equipment in the surgery is a QA activity as it ensures that the surgical process is successful carried (Toni, 2003).
  • Prescribing the proper drugs for a patient is a QA activity as it aims at ensuring that the healing process of the patient is not defective.
  • Finally, offering the right set of conditions for proper healing is QA activity as it also contributes to the whole process of healing (Toni, 2003).

On the other hand, all those set of activities that are undertaken to verify or test the effectiveness of the above processes fall under quality control. An example of this is the monitoring a patient’s recovery process after drug prescription. If the patient recovers, then the process is considered to have passed quality control test. On the other hand, if it the patient fails to recover, QC tests fails and the whole prescription need to be redefined (Jacob et al, 2000).

References

Pacey, A.A. (2010). Quality assurance and quality control in the laboratory andrology, Asian journal of andrology, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp. 21 – 25

Jacob, M.F., et al. (2000).Total quality improvement in the IVF laboratory: choosing indicators of quality. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp. 695 – 699

Toni, T. (2003). Quality control requirements in neonatal screening. European Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 162, Issue 1, pp. S54 – S56

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