Número Especial – Metrologia na Saúde
António Ramos Pires, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal
Margarida Saraiva, Universidade de Évora, Portugal
Álvaro Rosa, ISCTE-IUL, Portugal
Maria do Céu Ferreira, Instituto Português da Qualidade, Portugal
This special issue of TMQ Magazine is dedicated to Health Metrology. With the main objective of disseminating and sensitizing readers to the topic of health measurements, it was with great pleasure an honor that I received the invitation to take the role of guest editor of such a traditional journal.
The existence of measurements goes back to the origin of human civilization itself, present in a transversal and multidisciplinary way in all areas of society. Measuring instruments, which are part of a multivariate range of activities, allow measurements to be made on a daily basis, at any place and at any time, in an uninterrupted manner.
The technical-scientific context that serves as an insertion into these activities is called Metrology, which is the science of measurement and its applications.
In the health sector, for inherent reasons, measurements and measuring instruments play a key role. Many decisions are based on measurement results, allowing clinical decision to be supported by tangible evidence. The credibility of these decisions, and consequently the difference between a good and a bad decision may depend on whether the information received is correct or not. The metrological approach thus ensures that the results obtained are traceable to metrological standards, contributing to a rigorous and comparable analysis with internationally recognized reference values. This is a fundamental condition for reliable measurements.
To ensure the quality of the measurements, it is necessary to evaluate the performance of process and the measurement system, taking into account all stakeholders. It is known that continuous quality improvement is possible only through the integrated knowledge of all the processes that interfere with the measurement system and its results. There are several factors that may interfere with the measurement result and depend on the characteristics of the instruments, the methodology / procedure used the characteristics of the test sample, the environmental conditions of operation, the handling, etc. Mostly, the factors influencing the measurement result are controllable factors, and a good knowledge of them is therefore imperative.
This issue provides important work on the application of metrology in health, from the presentation of conceptual models for the implementation and development of metrological infrastructures for health services, to data triangulation approaches in the sociological dimension of health measurements, including tools for optimizing available resources. Other articles also deal with methods for calibration of measuring instruments with high relevance in clinical practice, presenting results that promote the improvement of health care quality.
I am sure that the set of articles here presented will aid the reader in understanding and raise awareness to the importance and key value of metrology in health, while also making clear the multiple consequences of f good metrological practices.
May this editorial initiative contribute to a greater contact between interested parties / researchers and professionals of related professional areas, as well as to reinforce the scientific support of metrology as a fundamental pillar of Quality.
Accordingly, my wishful note of gratitude goes to all authors that made this number possible.
O Editor Coordenador
António Ramos Pires
Maria do Céu L. S. Ferreira