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Quality indicators and quality assessment in child health
  1. P L Kavanagh1,
  2. W G Adams1,
  3. C J Wang1,2
  1. 1
    Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Maternal and Child Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Dr P L Kavanagh, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center, 88 East Newton Street, Vose Hall, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02118, USA; patricia.kavanagh{at}


Quality indicators are systematically developed statements that can be used to assess the appropriateness of specific healthcare decisions, services and outcomes. In this review, the range and type of indicators that have been developed for children in the UK and USA by prominent governmental agencies and private organisations are highlighted. These indicators are classified in an effort to identify areas of child health that may lack quality measures. The current state of health information technology in both countries is reviewed, since these systems are vital to quality efforts. Finally, several recommendations are proposed to advance the quality indicator development agenda for children. The convergence of quality measurement and indicator development, a growing scientific evidence base and integrated information systems in healthcare may lead to substantial improvements for child health in the 21st century.

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  • Funding: PLK is supported by the T32 HP10263 research training grant from the National Institute of Health (USA). WGA is supported by the D55 HP00006 Faculty Development Award from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services (USA). CJW is supported by the National Eye Institute K23 Career Development Award (USA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholars Program (USA).

  • Competing interests: None.