A Federal Government Web site managed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

www.ahrq.gov/
Working for Quality logo
HHS logo National Quality Strategy: Better Care. Healthy People/Healthy Communities. Affordable Care.

Working for Quality > About the National Quality Strategy (NQS)

About the National Quality Strategy (NQS)

The National Quality Strategy was first published in March 2011 as the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care, and is led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Developed as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Quality Strategy was created through a participatory, transparent, and collaborative process that invited input from a range of stakeholders, including public comment on a proposed approach to the effort and a draft set of principles and priorities. As a result, more than 300 groups, organizations, and individuals provided comments representing all sectors of the health care industry and the general public. Based on this input, the National Quality Strategy established a set of three overarching aims that builds on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Triple Aim®. Six priorities to achieve quality improvement and measure alignment directly support achievement of the three aims.

Working Together to Improve Quality

Improving health and health care quality can occur only if all sectors of the health care community make it their mission. Members of the health care community can align to the National Quality Strategy by doing the following:

Adopt the three aims to provide better, more affordable care for the individual and the community.

Focus on the six priorities for health and health care quality that have an impact on most Americans.

To learn more about the National Quality Strategy's impact on the nation's health and health care, review the 2013 Annual Progress Report, visit the Priorities in Action section, or view a past webinar for examples of quality improvement efforts that align to the NQS.

Measure Alignment

The National Quality Strategy also confronts the abundance of clinical quality measures to evaluate care while achieving harmonization to reduce confusion and provider burden. The Measurement Policy Council was convened in early 2012 to begin the work of aligning measures across HHS. Nine topics have been reviewed by the Council to date: hypertension control, hospital-acquired conditions/patient safety, HCAHPs, smoking cessation, depression screening, and care coordination, HIV/AIDS, perinatal, and obesity/BMI. Composed of senior-level representatives from agencies and operating divisions across the Department of Health and Human Services, the group also addresses new measure development and implementation, and measurement policy.

These measures are not just for Federal programs. The Measurement Policy Council encourages States and the private sector to adopt core measure sets for further harmonization and alignment across the health and health care community.

Aims

The National Quality Strategy will pursue three broad aims. These aims will be used to guide and assess local, State, and national efforts to improve health and the quality of health care.

  • Better Care: Improve the overall quality, by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe.
  • Healthy People/Healthy Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social and, environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care.
  • Affordable Care: Reduce the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and government.

Setting Priorities

To advance these aims, the National Quality Strategy will focus initially on six priorities:

  • Making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care.
  • Ensuring that each person and family is engaged as partners in their care.
  • Promoting effective communication and coordination of care.
  • Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.
  • Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living.
  • Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new health care delivery models.

HHS logoNational Quality Strategy: Better Care. Healthy People/Healthy Communities. Affordable Care. Working for Quality

A Federal Government Web site managed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality