Improving Quality in Healthcare

Responding to global gaps in health care competence, IFC IQ-Healthcare —with the IQ standing for Improving Quality—helps health providers improve patient safety, align practices with global quality standards, and build safe health infrastructure. To date, the IFC IQ-Healthcare program helped more than 130 hospitals and clinics in nearly 20 countries.

Over 6,000 healthcare professionals benefited from IFC open resources: a webinar series and self-paced training on healthcare quality and patient safety.

The Need

Across the developing world, poor quality healthcare is estimated to cause more preventable deaths every year than insufficient access to treatment. Systemic deficits in quality care equate to millions of deaths annually, billions of dollars in misspent resources, and untold lost opportunities. While global health efforts continue to focus on improving access to care, methods to improve quality of care in low- and middle-income countries are urgently needed.

Investor Perspective

  • Given the increasingly litigious nature of the health sector, a single incident can result in a large financial claim and ruin a hospital’s reputation.
  • The proliferation of social media means that stories of medical failures can “go viral”— with disastrous consequences for business.
  • Hospitals with good reputations attract more patients and higher quality staff.
  • Investors are increasingly focused on quality during appraisal as it helps them understand the entity’s potential for growth and alignment with international best practice and ethical principles.
  • Also, as the health insurance sector matures, in many markets a greater emphasis will be placed on pre-requisite quality standards.

Areas of Work

IFC's IQ-Healthcare Tool focuses on eight core areas, measuring performance across a total of 150 internationally recognized quality assurance standards. There areas include direct health service operations, such as medication management and use, patient safety, and infection control. We also seek to improve operating practices related to ethics and family rights, governance and leadership, facilities management, general safety, and human resources.

Customers and Process

Our services assist a wide range of clients. We focus on assisting private medical facilities to improve specific aspects of their care network. We also partner with the World Bank in country-level quality evaluations to help governments seeking to improve their health care systems. Clients receive onsite visit and comprehensive assessments by IFC staff, and can work with our health care experts to implement recommendations. A re-assessment 12-18 months after the initial evaluation can track changes in performance. 

Online Trainings


The IFC IQ-Healthcare team organizes regular learning sessions via webinars with health professionals and industry experts to share practical solutions that have been applied in emerging markets.

Business Case for Healthcare Quality

This series of business cases is based on real stories from healthcare facilities around the world. Each illustrates the value of investing in healthcare quality and patient safety, showcasing effective approaches that enhance services and reputation while driving financial growth.

International Patient Safety Training

In this free training series for medical professionals on International Patient Safety Goals (IPSG) and other healthcare quality topics, we explain the core patient safety requirements and offer instruction on how to implement them across a medical facility. A certificate can be earned for each completed course.


This initiative is supported by the Governments of Norway, the Netherlands and Japan.


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