Quality improvement and accountability in the Danish health care system

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Denmark has unique opportunities for quality measurement and benchmarking since Denmark has well-developed health registries and unique patient identifier that allow all registries to include patient-level data and combine data into sophisticated quality performance monitoring. Over decades, Denmark has developed and implemented national quality and patient safety initiatives in the healthcare system in terms of national clinical guidelines, performance and outcome measurement integrated in clinical databases for important diseases and clinical conditions, measurement of patient experiences, reporting of adverse events, national handling of patient complaints, national accreditation and public disclosure of all data on the quality of care. Over the years, Denmark has worked up a progressive and transparent just culture in quality management; the different actors at the different levels of the healthcare system are mutually attentive and responsive in a coordinated effort for quality of the healthcare services. At national, regional, local and hospital level, it is mandatory to participate in the quality initiatives and to use data and results for quality management, quality improvement, transparency in health care and accountability. To further develop the Danish governance model, it is important to expand the model to the primary care sector. Furthermore, a national quality health programme 2015–18 recently launched by the government supports a new development in health care focusing upon delivering high-quality health care—high quality is defined by results of value to the patients.

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