Performance Improvement 2008. What Current and Future Market Exists for Quality Indicators?


The study examined the market for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) quality indicators and quality measurement tools developed by other organizations, reviewed the ways quality indicators are used by various organizations, and assessed the demand for these indicators. The study conducted interviews with individuals who use quality indicators to understand how and why the AHRQ indicators were used, what improvements users wanted, and why some organizations chose not to use them.

The study found that:

  • The AHRQ quality indicator programs filled a unique niche in the quality indicators´ market since there were no other sources of hospital care quality indicators that represented both a national standard and were also publicly available, transparent, and based on administrative data;
  • The range of different uses for quality indicators included public reporting, quality improvement/benchmarking, pay-for-performance, and research; and
  • 114 national entities used quality indicators, and a limited review of international uses identified the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Health Care Quality Indicators Project, as having conducted preliminary discussions that indicated an interest in using quality indicators internationally.

Future activities should explore ways to discourage non-transparent alterations to the quality indicator specifications in proprietary measurement tools, and indicators should receive continued support. They have an important and unique position in quality management. Users of quality indicators indicated the need for improvements in the current product line, additions of new product lines, and improved support for quality indicator products.

Report Title: Evaluation of the Use of AHRQ and Other Quality Indicators. Report may be obtained from Federal Contact
Agency Sponsor:
AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Federal Contact:
Mamatha Pancholi, 301-427-1470
Rand Corporation

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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