Poor-quality health care around the globe causes ongoing damage to human health. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths occur each year from poor quality of care, which means that quality defects cause 10 to 15 percent of the total deaths in these countries. The resulting costs of lost productivity alone amount to between $1.4 and $1.6 trillion each year.
A move toward universal health coverage (UHC) is the central theme of global health policy today, but the evidence is clear: Even if such a movement succeeds, billions of people will have access to care of such low quality that it will not help them—and indeed often will harm them. Without deliberate, comprehensive efforts to improve the quality of health care globally, UHC will be largely an empty vessel.
With support from 7 sponsors, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine undertook a study to examine the global impacts of poor-quality health care and to recommend ways to improve quality while expanding UHC, particularly in low-resource areas. The resulting report, Crossing the Global Quality Chasm: Improving Health Care Worldwide, builds on the work of the landmark 2001 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Crossing the Quality Chasm by calling attention to the gaps in health care quality that still remain globally and suggesting approaches to bridge them.