The Cooperation for Transparency and Quality in Health Care (KTQ) is a German provider for a voluntary quality certification for health care organizations, e. g. hospitals, rehabilitations clinics, physician’s practices and nursing homes. The cooperation was initiated in 1997, the KTQ shareholders include, amongst others, the German Medical Association, the Federal Associations of Health Insurance Fund, the German Hospital Federation and the German Nursing Council.
The KTQ method is designed for the specific requirements of health care organizations and is primarily applied in German speaking countries. The aim of a KTQ-certification is to optimize processes within the patient care system. There are six categories, which are being queried during a certification in order to draw a picture about the quality of the processes. These categories are:
» Patient orientation
» Employee orientation
» Communication and information
» Quality management.
The voluntary certification process contains 3 steps:
» External assessment
» Quality report and issuing of certificate
Self-assessment as the first step involves the self-evaluation of the quality management system in the organization. The assessment is based on the KTQ Manual, which includes questions of the previous mentioned six categories. Through this process, the organization is making its own strengths but also areas of improvement transparent.
The external assessment is voluntary. For an organization to undergo an external assessment it first has to apply at a KTQ certification authority. The assessment is carried out by experienced KTQ Visitors, which are especially trained in the KTQ processes and also have extensive knowledge in quality management. A visitor team that visits an organization, always comprises experts in this type of organization, e.g. in a hospital the team includes a medical, nursing and an economic visitor. In the external assessment the visitors review the information given in the self-assessment report.
After a successful external assessment the organization publishes its quality report and receives a certificate, which is valid for three years.