Improving the Quality of Health Care in the United Kingdom and the United States: A Framework for Change


Stephen M. Shortell School of Public Health, University of California, 407 Warren Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 (


Fueled by public incidents and growing evidence of deficiencies in care, concern over the quality and outcomes of care has increased in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Both countries have launched a number of initiatives to deal with these issues. These initiatives are unlikely to achieve their objectives without explicit consideration of the multilevel approach to change that includes the individual, group/team, organization, and larger environment/system level. Attention must be given to issues of leadership, culture, team development, and information technology at all levels. A number of contingent factors influence these efforts in both countries, which must each balance a number of tradeoffs between centralization and decentralization in efforts to sustain the impetus for quality improvement over time. The multilevel change framework and associated properties provide a framework for assessing progress along the journey.