“Quality” Terms You Should Know As A Physicist

September 9, 2009 · Written by MDPhysics.com · mdphysicsblog@gmail.com

At a recent staff meeting, I realized that there are certain “quality” terms that are thrown around often in our line of work. You know which words I’m talking about: quality assurance, quality control, quality improvement, etc…Although we hear and use them often, I would bet few people know their exact definitions. Knowing their precise definitions is important to avoid using them incorrectly in a meeting or during a conversation with the boss, colleague or administrative staff. Being able to use these terms correctly is imperative in demonstrating our depth and level of knowledge concerning the subject matter. Here are the terms and their definitions as supplied by Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology 48 (2003) 1-17:

Quality Assurance: Processes, techniques, and tools used to indicate that patient treatments contain no error.

Quality Control: Processes, techniques, and tools used to prevent errors in a patient treatments.

Quality Improvement: Process of evaluating the level of quality in patient treatments and implementing changes to improve that quality.

Quality Management: The processes implemented to make achieving the desired level of quality likely and to prevent errors in the patient treatments.

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