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The state of being answerable for decisions and actions; a criterion that can be used as an indicator of how well a health care system functions. In clinical and public health practice, professional staff are usually called to account for their actions only when things have gone badly wrong, as in tort claims and malpractice suits. Accountability is not usually part of audit or evaluation procedures. Elected or appointed officials seeking ways to reduce costs of local public health services (and therefore reduce taxes) may overemphasize financial accountability and disregard the absence of diseases as evidence that control measures are effective.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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