Quality Assurance VS Quality Improvement….. What’s the difference?

When talking about workplace performance beyond entry-to-practice, much emphasis is typically placed on the concept of quality assurance (QA). Compliance with QA requirements is mandatory in most regulated professions, such as health professions, as well as legal, education, and real estate.

In the psyche of professional regulation, QA tends to be about maintaining a certain “minimum standard” across the registrant body, and it is often based largely on acquiring a prescribed number of continuing education hours, or CEUs. But is it reasonable to equate continuing education requirements with quality assurance? And does adherence to minimum standards actually serve our clients’ best interests?

At the CSC Collab we say that maintenance of a minimum standard is not enough. We believe that quality of professional services should be about ensuring ongoing performance improvement across the career-span.

Quality improvement (QI) is about having systems in place - a framework that inspires and supports career-long professional growth and performance improvement. You might say that quality assurance programming is about looking back and asking, “what courses have I taken in the last 2 years?”. A quality improvement approach, on the other hand, is about looking forward and asking, “what can I do to improve my performance in the coming years?”. The CSC Approach is focused on looking forward.

Our Framework for Career-Span Competence provides professionals with a tool to help them understand and manage quality improvement, over their career. It asks that we “look forward”, rather than back, and that we focus on ongoing performance enhancement to be the best we can be.

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