Introduction

TOPAS Europe Association is a collaboration of researchers of quality improvement in healthcare, founded in January 2005 and established as an 'association' (vereniging) under the Dutch law. It aims at the development, validation and continuous revision and improvement of indicators, instruments and tools for assessing health care practices and professionals.

The formal bylaws of the association list the following objectives:
-To establish a joint venture among European research organisations with the purpose of developing and keeping up to date instruments to measure and improve health-care quality.
-The development, validation and improvement of quality indicators for the health-care industry.
-The development and improvement of instruments and data-set systems with the aim of giving feedback on the quality indicators.
-To maintain an international database to be used for international comparisons, research, policy and reference information for users of the instruments and indicators.
-The development of research proposals in order to tap funds for new projects in the field of research results.
-The distribution of research results to the public.

TOPAS is an umbrella organisation for instrument-specific groups, currently including: EPA, Europep, Maturity Matrix, and EPA Cardio. Members are individuals, who participate on behalf of their organisation(s). The members have elected a board in a plenary meeting in November 2006. The board acts as a core group of the association and includes Michel Wensing (chairperson), Glyn Elwyn (treasurer), Björn Broge, Stephen Campbell, and Beat Künzi.