The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) III completed activities September 26, 2008, bringing to a close over six years of work to adapt and apply modern quality improvement (QI) methods to the most serious health care problems challenging USAID-assisted countries. Since 1990, the three consecutive Quality Assurance Projects (QAP I, II, and III) have provided technical leadership for USAID’s global efforts to improve health care quality in developing countries. This work has helped to raise awareness in the global health community that quality improvement is an essential component of health system strengthening and that quality standards and QI capacity development are vital to the development of health care systems in even the most resource-constrained countries.
The five-year USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), awarded to University Research Co., LLC (URC) in 2007, builds on QAP’s global efforts to improve health care quality in developing countries worldwide and continues to expand and refine applications of the QI methods championed by QAP. (Please visit www.hciproject.org for more information on HCI Project activities.)
The most significant element of QAP’s legacy is adaptation of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s collaborative model to the realities of developing countries. QAP pioneered the use of the collaborative methodology in resource-constrained environments through implementation of 39 collaboratives in 15 developing and middle-income countries. Recent evaluative research offers compelling evidence that QAP’s collaboratives were effective in spreading improvements in health care systems throughout the developing world. (Read more about the findings of QAP Collaborative Evaluations.)
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Lessons and innovations gained from QAP’s research comprise another important part of the project’s legacy. Through 50 studies, QAP III documented quality obstacles and developed approaches to their solution. Findings were applied by QAP field programs to improve care in specific countries and were disseminated to the wider public health community. (Read more about QAP’s research results.)
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URC and its QAP III partners—EnCompass LLC, Initiatives Inc., and Joint Commission Resources—have been privileged to carry out this work for USAID. We look forward to continued work to build on QAP’s legacy with even more significant results under the USAID Health Care Improvement Project.