Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
AZEVEDO, Antonio Carlos de. Evaluation of the performance of health services. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1991, vol.25, n.1, pp. 64-71. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101991000100013.
Recent literature (up to 1988) on health service assessment in general and especially on hospital service assessment is reviewed, with special attention to its conceptual and methodological aspects. The history of this process is also examined, from the first attempts by the American College of Surgeons, through the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation activities up to more recent efforts. The Diagnosis Related Group methodology is commented especially, as well as its more recent complement, the severity of illness inidicators. Progress made in this field is briefly examined as in the light of the Brazilian situation. The origins of the growing international concern with this field are enumerated: soaring costs of health services; the recent growth in the number of medical malpractice suits; and the sharp increase in the complexity of health services. The sources of information used in the process, such as immediate observation (case-control type studies), medical records, and summary instruments already in use for payment or financial control purposes, are commented on. Mention is made of the deep influences of the assessment process on practice as in the case of the standardization of practices and procedures, staging of the pathological processes, trajectory-type studies; the utilization of tracer situations, and, finally, the most influencial on practice of all these assessment instruments: the diagnosis and treatment protocols, already in wide use in some medical fields such as cancer treatment even in developing countries.
Keywords : Outcome and process assessment (health care) [trends]; Hospital administration [trends]; Health services [standards].