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US groups set standards of outpatient care

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 18 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:422
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

    Americans make more than a billion visits to doctors' surgeries and hospital outpatient and emergency departments for medical care every year, but until now there have been few standards for gauging the quality of care that doctors provide in the outpatient setting.

    This month a set of voluntary national standards was agreed on by more than 260 healthcare providers such as healthcare plans, consumers' groups, professionals' organisations, purchasers of health care (such as employers), federal agencies, and research and quality improvement organisations.

    The groups were brought together by the National Quality Forum, a private, non-profit organisation that aims to standardise the measurement and reporting of the quality of health care. The standards are based …

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