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Quality Improvement Division


Quality Improvement Division Programs & Resources

QI Reports and Briefs

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Quality Improvement Division
Jeffrey Gunzenhauser MD , MPH
241 N. Figueroa St., Suite 275
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Phone: (213) 989-7236
Fax: (213) 240-8626
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Definitions / Terminology

Definitions Used in Los Angeles County's Public Health Measures Initiative (in sequence of approach)

  • Vision - a statement that expresses what an organization/group is trying to achieve - aspirations to be realized; conveys an image of a desired future.
  • Mission - a brief, clear statement of purpose; tells why the organization exists.
  • Goal - broad, general statement of what will be achieved and how things will be different; what it takes to reach the vision (may not be measurable).
  • Indicator - a measure which helps quantify the achievement of a goal; end result which lets us know if we are achieving a goal; measurable; refers to populations, whether or not they receive services.
  • Performance measure - a measure of how well a program is working; work performed and results achieved; its efficiency and effectiveness; refers to client population/those who receive services; may relate to knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, behavior, condition, or status, (e.g., % of patients who keep appointment).
  • Baseline - an initial measurement of population or program information.
  • Baseline graph - a graphic description of where a population or program has been and where it is headed, if it stays on the current course; trend.
  • Partners - people, agencies, and organizations, public and private, who could have a role in the effort.
  • Strategies - methods to achieve goals and objectives; a collection of actions, which have a reasonable chance of achieving results.
  • Outcome - a quantified result or impact.
  • Benchmark - target to be reached; a near-term standard with which an indicator or particular performance measure is compared.

Other Terminology - Quality

  • Quality Assurance (QA) - a formal set of activities to review and safeguard the quality of medical services provided. QA includes quality assessment and implementation of corrective actions to address any deficiencies identified in the quality of care and services provided to individuals or populations (Source: National Committee for Quality Assurance)
  • Quality of health care - the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge (Source: Institute of Medicine)
  • Quality assessment - measurement of achievement of population health objectives (Source: Institute of Medicine)
  • Quality indicator - quantitative statement about the capacity (structure), actions (process), or results (outcomes) (Source: Institute of Medicine)

Other Terminology - Evidence-Based Public Health
Source: Brownson RC, Baker EA, Leet TL, and Gillespie, KN. Evidence-Based Public Health. Oxford University Press, New York, NY: 2003.

  • Evidence - "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid"
  • Evidence-Based Practice - "the use of epidemiological insight while studying and applying research, clinical, and public health experience and findings in clinical practice, health programs, and health policies"
  • Evidence-Based Public Health - "the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective programs and policies in public health through application of principles of scientific reasoning, including systematic uses of data and information systems, and appropriate use of behavioral science theory and program planning models"

    QA Approach, Definitions, 1-15-04


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