The Q Series: What is a Health Care Quality Measure?

January 11, 2016 · Shireesha Jevaji

Q Series: Health Care Quality Answers

Q Series: A series of informative blog posts that explain the building blocks of health care quality and emerging trends in health care delivery reform.


Q: What is a health care “quality measure”?

A: Simply put, quality measures are tools that quantify and measure care. Similar to pictures in a collage, quality measures help people “see” the levels of health care provided by a collection of quality improvement efforts.

Quality measures evaluate care across the full range of health care settings, from doctors’ offices, to imaging facilities, to hospital systems. They use data to assess the performance of health plans and health care providers against recognized standards, to ensure that providers use proven techniques and avoid those that tend to cause harm.

Measuring quality improves our national health care system by:

1. Holding health care organizations and providers accountable for the health services they provide.

2. Using evidence-based data to identify what works, and what doesn’t work, in health care.

3. Monitoring and reporting changes in the quality of care over time.

4. Helping patients, families and employees understand the health care decisions they face.

Measuring the quality of health care is a necessary step to ensuring that all Americans receive safe, efficient and timely care.

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