The Health Foundation has published a briefing on the report Regulation and Quality Improvement: a review of the evidence.
The report, by Sheila Leatherman and Kim Sutherland, assesses whether regulatory interventions actually drive up the quality of care. It considers interventions such as standards, targets, inspection, professional regulation, mandatory reporting and market regulation.
The report concludes there is limited and varying evidence that regulatory regimes have led to better quality healthcare, but surmises that standards have had a positive effect. However, the Health Foundation is calling for better measurement of clinical outcomes and wider participation in clinical audits to give a richer picture of the full effect of standards.
The briefing advises caution on the widespread use of targets, because focusing achievement in one area may worsen standards in another. Equally, it concludes that inspections play an important role in ensuring that standards are met, but finds their impact varies according to the methodology used.
To read the full report, which was written as part of our Quest for Quality and Improved Performance initiative, click here