(Received 10 December 1999; accepted 2 February 2000)
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Continuous quality improvement (CQI) represents a management technique where the basic approach to managing quality consists of setting a standard for a work process, measuring variation in the work process in relation to the standard, and then implementing programs to decrease variation and improve end results. Everyone providing a service becomes involved both in understanding how quality is measured and in discussing how to improve quality. A team approach is adopted and instead of focusing on poor quality outcomes and how to avoid them, the team becomes involved in setting continuously improving standards for better performance and in finding ways to meet those standards. The objective is to meet or exceed consumer or user expectations.
Relevant related concepts such as survey research, needs determination and outcomes analysis, and the importance of a mission statement are discussed using a medical examiner system as an example.
Forensic pathologist, Grass Valley, CA
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