quint-essenz is a quality and project management system that was specifically developed for interventions in health promotion and prevention
The impetus for the development of a specific quality system the understanding that existing quality and project management systems, mainly having originated in a technical field, can not be unconditionally transferred to health promotion and prevention projects. A system was called for that could account for the complexity of setting oriented intervention projects. At the same time, values and principles of health promotion were to be explicitly considered. The first developmental phase was realized at the Institut for Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Zurich, on behalf of and in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. The basics of the quality system were elaborated in collaboration with scientific experts and experts with practical experience and in May 2000 the first online version became available. In 2001, Health Promotion Switzerland was commissioned for the project and continuously developed the quality system and services.
The following points play a central part in the understanding of the term 'quality' in quint-essenz. Quality development ...
- is an integral part of any intervention
- is a continuous, cyclic process.
- calls for systematic, collaborative reflection
- includes all aspects of interventions.
- is subject to the responsiblity of all acting parties
- can not be delegated.
Quality development will only have a chance if it is not only demanded by funding authorities, but also attended to by the project team, at its own account, and if criteria, methods and tools are perceived as support for an effective and efficient realization of interventions. Strengths and potentials for improvement in projects can be elaborated by systematization and collaborative reflection, and used for further development.
Main features of the quality system
The core of the quality system quint-essenz is presented by 24 quality criteria, which allow for a systematic reflection and assessment of a project in every phase of its development and realization. For each criterion specific topics are provided that elucidate the aspects of the criterion and present possibilities for reflection and to take action. The topics again point to methods and tools for project pratice. Thus, all elements of the quality system relate directly or indirectly to the quality criteria and are intergrated in a comprehensive system. The tools available at quint-essenz are tailored to the specific requirements of interventions in complex setting systems. They allow for the relevant aspects in each particular phase of a project to be brought into focus and to keep an eye on the whole system at the same time.
Establishing a quality culture
It is the long-term vision of quint-essenz to establish a quality culture on all levels of health promotion and prevention. This implies that experts and commissioning institutions commit themselves to a continuous improvement of projects, programmes and institutions and become dedicated to reaching their self set standards. In order to support a quality culture as a sustainable anchor it is important to build on the resources at hand according to the principals of health promotion and to further develop quality with all those involved. If this mindset is incorporated into the professional understanding, quality development may become an important contribution to the professionalization of health promotion and prevention.
- Ackermann, Günter; Studer, Hubert & Ruckstuhl, Brigitte (2009). quint-essenz: Ein Instrument zur Qualitätsentwicklung in Gesundheitsförderung und Prävention. In: Kolip, Petra; Müller, Veronika (Hrsg) Qualität von Gesundheitsförderung und Prävention. Handbuch Gesundheitswissenschaften. Bern: Verlag Hans Huber. 137-156.
- Studer, Hubert; Ackermann, Günter (2009) quint-essenz: Potenziale in Projekten erkennen und nutzen. In: Suchtmagazin. Jahrgang 35, Heft 2, April 2009.