Importance of Understanding the Donabedian Model

You were asked to read the classic article by Donabedian on structure, process, and outcomes. This article is fundamental to understanding the evolution of performance improvement in health care and aligns closely with systems thinking. As a current or future health care administration leader, how might Donabedian’s model impact your health services organization?

Review the Donabedian’s model and reflect on the model for health services organizations. Think about how you might apply Donabedian’s model to a health services organization, including how the model might be important for systems thinking.

The Assignment: (4 pages)

  • Explain how you might apply Donabedian’s model to your health services organization or one with which you are familiar.
  • Describe the structures, processes, and outcomes of the health services organization you selected.
  • Draw a diagram representing Donabedian’s model specific for the health services organization you selected.
  • Explain the importance of understanding Donabedian’s model and how this model links to systems thinking.


Ross, T. K. (2014). Health care quality management: Tools and applications. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chapter 2, “Error and Variation” (pp. 37–61)

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