Quality issues: Quality is an increasingly important issue to the health care sector. The Taiwanese government also recognizes the need to implement a nationwide health care quality indicator system to strengthen quality surveillance. Choice of solution: In 1999, the Department of Health funded a 2-year project led by the Taiwan Healthcare Executive College to develop a comprehensive performance assessment system, subsequently named as Taiwan Healthcare Indicator Series (THIS). The series includes four categories of indicators, namely outpatient, in-patient, emergency care, and intensive care, and has 139 items in total. Implementation: The system was officially launched in 2001. Participation is voluntary. The Taiwan Healthcare Executive College processes the data and provides feedback to the participating hospitals. The information is for the participating hospitals' own use and is not released to the public. Evaluation: Participating hospitals have increased from 45 in 2001 to 227 in 2006 and now constitute ∼50% of the total hospital population in Taiwan. The reporting rate averaged 77.7% in 2004. The first five most reported indicators are the percentage of first-visit outpatients to outpatient clinics, the average length of in-patient stay, the nosocomial infection rate, the occupancy rate, and the crude mortality rate. Lessons learned: How the data are interpreted and how data interpretation can lead to quality improvement are the principal concerns of participating hospitals. In light of the success of the indicator series, the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) of Taiwan has proposed participation in the series as being one of the criteria to be reimbursed for quality.
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