Western Health defines quality as

the degree of excellence; the extent to which the organization meets client/patient/resident needs and exceeds their expectations (Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, 2007).

This definition implies that Western Health must ensure that clients/patients/residents participate in decisions about their health so that we understand the health needs and priorities of individuals and communities. In turn, Western Health must provide appropriate and cost effective programs and services to meet the needs. Western Health will apply uniform standards of quality across the organization. These standards will include the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation standards, professional practice standards for specific disciplines and other evidence based standards developed and/or adopted by Western Health.

Western Health defines quality improvement as

a structured process that selectively identifies and improves all aspects of service (Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, 2007). The process involves management, staff and other health professionals in the continuous improvement of work processes to achieve better outcomes of client/patient/resident care (Harrigan, 2000).

This definition requires Western Health to continually identify the populations that it serves, the processes that it uses to provide services and to employ a valid method to continually evaluate and improve the services. This definition also requires leadership commitment to foster a culture of quality and effective facilitation of teams. The Quality Improvement Framework identifies the structures and processes Western Health employs to support continuous quality improvement.

Essential to the Quality Improvement Framework is integrated risk management. Western Health recognizes that risk management and quality improvement is everyone's responsibility. To facilitate the risk management process, the Quality Management and Research branch developed the Risk Management Framework. This document identifies a risk management process appropriate for use by all staff in identifying, assessing, responding to and evaluating our management of risk. Branch staff is responsible for setting policy direction and/or facilitating several risk management processes including occurrence reporting, critical incident reporting and management, claims management, patient safety and the development of an organizational risk profile.