This thematic series in Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) considers quality of care not just in Israel but internationally. Health care systems around the world are intensively engaged in efforts to monitor and improve the quality of care. Empirical studies and scholarly publication have played a central role in these efforts. Israel has been an active participant in these world-wide efforts. Its system for monitoring the quality of care in community-based services covers all of Israel's citizens and is among the most advanced in the world. That effort is supported by the sophisticated information systems of Israel's health plans, which also provide a fertile ground for additional types of quality monitoring and evaluation.
In the hospital arena, until recently, Israel's quality monitoring effort was less well-developed. However, five years ago the Ministry of Health initiated hospital monitoring efforts as well. Since then, rapid progress has been made, with almost all Israeli hospitals participating in international accreditation processes, and nation-wide systems being put into place to monitor clinical quality. In both hospital and community settings, there is an ongoing exchange of ideas between Israel and other countries. In both settings, the issue of sharing information on quality with the general public is increasingly coming to the fore, and here too, Israel is simultaneously learning from the international experience and contributing to it.
Israeli studies of quality of care have been, and continue to be, published in such established journals as the BMJ, Health Services Research, Health Affairs, and the International Journal for Quality in Health Care. At the same time, IJHPR is emerging as an important vehicle for exploring the policy implications of Israeli efforts to improve quality and for facilitating cross-national learning in this area.
This article collection brings together, in a convenient setting, the IJHPR articles published to date on quality of care, broadly defined. We look forward to seeing this collection grow over the coming years.