International standards of healthcare
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of care as “the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and populations improve desired health outcomes.” It also stipulates that in order to achieve this, health care must be:
Safe: All healthcare has to be stringently and rigorously determined to be of minimal risk and harm.
Effective: Healthcare services should always be hinged upon tangible evidence of scientific knowledge and evidence-based guidelines.
Timely: Fast and efficient provision of care is equally as important as the quality of it.
Efficient: In a world constrained by economic scarcity of resources, the delivery of health care needs to maximize resource use and avoid waste.
Equitable: The quality of healthcare delivered must not be partial to different groups such as gender, race, ethnicity, geographical location and socioeconomic status.
People-centred: Different communities have varied preferences and aspirations – healthcare should be tailored to individual service users and community cultures.
The importance of quality healthcare
Quality and accessible healthcare is a fundamental right of all human beings. Although medical science, driven by technological advancement, has improved by leaps and bounds, the current healthcare system is still lacking in areas such as efficiency, safety, and equitability.
The lack of quality healthcare can put a glass ceiling on a society's growth and potential. Viral outbreaks throughout history have consistently exposed the limitations of healthcare systems around the world, demanding urgent reforms and enhancements.