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What is a Quality Profile?

The Quality Profile is timely, comprehensive, reliable information that describes the quality of care provided in a way that drives and demonstrates improvement.

  • It is a tool that primarily compares your service as it is now to your service in the past. It looks at trends over time to drive and demonstrate quality improvement.
  • It is timely. The Quality Profile will be reviewed monthly to provide up to date information that assists users in correctly identifying where initiatives and interventions have resulted in improvements in the quality of care.
  • It is owned by the service. The service makes decisions on what specific measures will be included in the Quality Profile. It will contain local information that reflects what is important to you. It may therefore not always be possible to compare the quality of care in your service to that of other similar services.
  • It is an honest appraisal of the quality of care provided. This may mean that some of the information may not be appropriate for sharing. Nevertheless, services will be encouraged to ensure that the information contained in the Quality Profile is accessible to service users and their families.
  • It is a tool that contains both Quantitative and Qualitative information.
  • It is a tool that helps users to identify interventions that work, and that facilitates services to share their learning and to learn from other services that have undertaken relevant quality improvement projects.

Two resources are provided here that further help to understand how the Quality Profile is developed and used. 

  • Resource 1 – Principles of the Quality Profile (This document provides more detail on how a Quality Profile helps to drive and demonstrate improvement)
  • Resource 2 – Features of the Quality Profile (This document describes how the Quality Profile compares with other tools and reports that present healthcare information)

What are the benefits of using a Quality Profile?

The Quality Profile will provide the CEO/senior most accountable manager with the evidence that is most relevant to them on the quality of care provided by their service.

One benefit of the Quality Profile is that the service itself chooses the measures that are most relevant in understanding the quality of their services. 

Another benefit is that this evidence will be presented in a way that drives and demonstrates Quality Improvement.  Rather than looking at how a service compares to other services, the emphasis will be on looking at trends over time and using run charts, Shewhart charts and other presentation tools that support Quality Improvement as appropriate. These tools will help the senior most accountable manager to demonstrate the success of Quality Improvement initiatives and how these improvements have resulted in an improved quality of care for service users. ‘Measurement for Improvement’ is one of six enablers of the Framework for Quality Improvement. Development of a Quality Profile will demonstrate implementation of the Measurement for Improvement enabler in that service.

The Quality Profile is aligned to the main themes of the Safer Better Healthcare Standards and therefore will support the interaction between services and the regulator. For example, this may include forming part of the quality review that HIQA request prior to inspections in some settings.

Why implement a Quality Profile?

As a direct mandate from the Minister for Health and the Director General of the Health Service Executive (HSE) who now require that all healthcare organisations produce formal documentation assuring them that the care and services provided within healthcare organisations are safe and of the highest quality.

The Quality Profile will demonstrate implementation of the ‘Measuring for Improvement’ enabler of the Framework for Quality Improvement.

The Quality Profile will also be a key document to support and inform the interaction between your service and the regulator (Health Information and Quality Authority or Mental Health Commission).

What is the vision for how Quality Profiles will be used?

The CEO/senior most accountable manager of the health service is the owner of the Quality Profile.

The key use of the Quality Profile is to provide a tool for the CEO/senior most accountable manager to help answer whether high quality patient care is being provided, and if not, to identify areas for Quality Improvement activities.

What a Quality Profile is not:

  • It is not nationally mandated set of measures, including the Patient Safety Statement, Performance Assurance Report, etc – it is what’s important to you
  • It is not a guarantee of quality – it is a tool to understand quality and improvement in order to drive improvement, when used appropriately
  • It is not static – the key aspect is change and learning over time
  • It is not only for management  – it is for all staff
  • It is not a financial report – while financial measures are important they are not included in a Quality Profile
  • It is not a league table
  • It is not a further increase on the amount of information collected for the HSE / regulatory bodies – while all information related to quality of care that is known about you, including information contained within the Performance Assurance Reports etc, should be included in your profile, the additional information is that which you consider important to you in order to improve your services.


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