Healthcare is a highly regulated field due to its impact on population health and well-being. Therefore, care providers are required to comply with state and federal laws, as well as codes of practice and other professional regulations. The present paper will consider the influence of regulatory agencies and laws on the quality of healthcare.
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Regulatory organizations can have a positive impact on the quality of care by promoting and supporting quality improvement initiatives. These agencies can implement regulations to foster a culture of health by ensuring equal access to care, advancing interprofessional collaboration, and establishing new health systems and services (Plough & Chandra, 2015). They can also impact safety culture in medical institutions through a variety of targeted efforts, thus improving patient outcomes and preventing errors (Hershey, 2015).
Finally, regulatory organizations can recommend practices and tools for local quality improvement projects, acting as information resources. For instance, agencies can raise awareness about tools such as Lean Six Sigma and plan-do–study–act cycles that can have a great influence on the quality of care (Leis & Shojania, 2017; “The power of Lean Six Sigma,” 2016).
Laws can also have a significant influence on the delivery of quality healthcare by preventing malpractice and other common issues (Neil, 2015). Firstly, the legislation establishes various standards of certification and licensing for care providers, ensuring that they have enough skills and knowledge to provide high-quality care. Secondly, laws allow for litigations, thus making the provision of quality care a top priority concern for providers and medical institutions (Butler & Lostritto, 2015).
Laws also establish programs for addressing misconduct that threatens patient safety, preventing care professionals from endangering patients’ lives. For example, substance abuse is a relatively common problem among care providers, and many states have established treatment programs to reduce its prevalence (Schub, 2016). Therefore, the influence of laws and regulatory agencies on the quality of care in the United States is mostly positive.
Butler, K. A., & Lostritto, M. D. (2015). Malpractice 101: Strategies for defending your practice. Journal of Radiology Nursing, 34(1), 13-24.
Hershey, K. (2015). Culture of safety. Nursing Clinics, 50(1), 139-152.
Leis, J. A., & Shojania, K. G. (2017). A primer on PDSA: Executing plan-do-study-act cycles in practice, not just in name. BMJ Quality and Safety, 26(7), 572-577.
Neil, H. P. (2015). Legally: what is quality care? Understanding nursing standards. MedSurg Nursing, 24(1), 14-15.
Plough, A., & Chandra, A. (2015). From vision to action: A framework and measures to mobilize a culture of health. Web.
The power of Lean Six Sigma. (2016). American Nurse Today, 11(8). Web.
Schub, T. (2016). Evidence-based care sheet: Substance abuse in healthcare professionals. Glendale, CA: Cinahl Information Systems.