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The quality management and health promotion practice nexus
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Maycock, Sonja Hall
As health promotion has developed, there has emerged a range of underlying concepts, principles and practices which have been integrated into best practice. This includes ethical principles (such as beneficence and autonomy), the concepts of social justice, equity, advocacy, empowerment, social capital, and practices such as consumer participation, capacity building, the use of process, impact and outcome evaluation and evidenced-based practice. These create a unique philosophical and operating platform, from which health promotion initiatives should derive many of their operating procedures. In recent years another concept, that of quality management has been introduced into health promotion practice. The introduction of quality management has the capacity to enhance work practice if done in a way that is sympathetic to these existing principles, concepts and philosophies. This paper provides an overview of quality management and discusses the potential benefits it could bring to health promotion practice. Quality management with its support for a flatter management structure and attention to staff experience and needs, offers a system that could enhance training and service delivery via the creation and introduction of checklists, benchmarks and other quality management processes. The quality management construct of internal and external customers could enhance health promotion practice via its explicit identification of, “customer” needs and the meeting of these needs. The paper identifies a strong nexus between existing health promotion practice and quality management, however it also concludes that as the quality management paradigm does not contain the constructs of social justice, equity or empowerment and as these are central to health promotion practice they need to be embedded into any quality management approach before it is imposed onto health promotion activity. Quality management offers health promotion practitioners the opportunity to operationalise these concepts, principles and practices into every day activity; to take what is implicit in the major trends identified in health promotion and make them an explicit part of practice.