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Medical quality control is the monitoring of products and services provided in a medical setting for the purposes of patient safety, comfort, and satisfaction. Quality control is an important aspect of health-care services, and many large medical facilities have a quality control officer who focuses on this issue. At manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and medical devices, similar quality control measures are in place to protect the safety of products that may be given to patients.
In health-care settings, medical quality control relies on establishing standards and protocols. Some may reflect regional laws requiring facilities to take certain steps to protect patients, while others are part of industry standards and practices. Some facilities may have even more rigorous standards based on experience and careful review. These can include things like always washing hands between patients, using standard questionnaires before surgery to avoid common mistakes, and requiring nurses to follow particular protocols when titering medications for patients.
Safety is the primary concern with medical quality control. Health-care providers want to make sure that patients remain safe while in their care, preventing issues like hospital-acquired infections, surgical mistakes, or injuries caused by inadequate care. A quality control officer may roam through a facility to perform audits and watch providers while they work, and hospital personnel also attend classes to get up-to-date information on quality control and the measures they must take for patient safety.
Hospitals also usually have concerns about consistency of care, to make sure all patients receive the same standard of care and that it is very high. Comfort and satisfaction are additional aspects of medical quality control, aimed at keeping patients as happy as possible during their treatments. In addition to being a basic tenet of customer service, comfort also tends to increase the probability of a positive patient outcome, making it an important part of care.
In facilities where patients are not present and the focus is on producing products for the medical community, medical quality control is also very important. Medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers must meet very stringent legal standards in addition to following common industry practices to protect health and safety. These include preventing contamination, making sure products are of consistently good quality, and using standardized sizing and packaging so health-care providers can quickly identify the products they need. For example, medications provided in tablet form come in set colors, shapes, and sizes, with indicator markings stamped on them to allow pharmacists to dispense the right medication and patients to identify their drugs at a glance.