Quality Improvement Concepts

“Quality by Inspection” vs. “Continuous Quality Improvement” (CQI)?

Quality by inspection involves conducting various activities to guarantee the value of products. The process includes quality control activities to ensure that customers receive quality products free from errors. Quality by inspection differs from continuous quality improvement because the latter is more proactive and focuses on the quality of the final product as well as the systems used in the product delivery. Unlike quality by inspection, which focuses on ensuring error eradication in the final product, CQI concentrates on processes and systems that deliver a quality product to meet or surpass customers’ expectations.[1] For instance, quality by inspection may check the correctness of drug prescription, while a continuous quality improvement may go beyond error detection to the delivery systems, such as possible allergies and adverse effects of a particular drug.

Barriers to Implementation of CQI in a Community Pharmacy

Barriers to implementation of CQI in community pharmacies arise from inadequacy of personnel. Due to the shortage of pharmacists, most community pharmacies engage dispensing chemists. Another barrier is poor communication between the doctor offering the prescription and the pharmacist or pharmacist technician.[2] To address the barrier and enhance continuous quality, it is imperative to improve communication and prescription systems. Besides the need to hire more qualified pharmacists, improved communication, such as writing detailed prescriptions with information regarding diagnosis and possible side effects, is an important aspect to improve quality.

Top Priority Concepts Concerning QI

Various concepts are necessary for quality improvement in pharmacy. Medical errors emerge from the use of flawed prescription systems. Health care quality is the overall positive outcome of the care process. Notably, quality assurance is another concept that defines the monitoring and evaluation of a product to achieve the required quality standards. ISO 9000-Quality Standards defines standards used in quality management and assurance.[3] Pharmacists should understand those concepts and effectively apply them in their quality improvement activities.

[1] Warholak TL Nau DP. Quality and safety in pharmacy practice. 1st ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, 2010; 55-70


[2] Warholak TL Nau DP. Quality and safety in pharmacy practice. 1st ed. New York, NY.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2010; 55-70


[3] Warholak TL Nau DP. Quality and safety in pharmacy practice. 1st ed. New York, NY.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2010: 55-70


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