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Quality improvement: no quality without equity?

10 Jul 2017

A 2016 Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) white paper has called equity ‘the forgotten aim’ of health care improvement. The quality improvement (QI) movement has led to QI ‘wins’, the authors write, but these have seldom been universal wins – most initiatives have been more successful for some groups of people than others.

The IHI white paper centres on the American context. Is there also evidence of a ‘forgotten aim’ in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ)? If so, can we claim to have a high-quality health care system?

In this paper we examine the evidence for the NZ context and conclude that the IHI’s contention holds largely true. Further, this paper sets the scene for a shift in the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s (the Commission’s) strategic priorities, to include equity as one of four new areas of focus. Finally, it puts forward a blueprint for how equity could be achieved as part of continuous QI in health care.

Published: 10 Jul 2017 Modified: 19 May 2023