In 1966, Avedis Donabedian proposed a conceptual model for examining health services and evaluating quality of care. The Donabedian model includes three pillars: structure, process, and outcomes. As organizations strive to excel in healthcare’s world of declining reimbursements, proliferating risk contracts, and growing consumerism, the Donabedian model provides a guide on how to succeed.
From Donabedian, we know that outcomes derive from the existing structure and processes that make use of current facilities, equipment, and personnel. While structure change occurs slowly, processes are more agile. For organizations to prosper in our changing healthcare marketplace, they must seek objective data sources, analyze them, and regularly apply them to their processes, thereby fine tuning those processes to deliver desired outcomes.