AHRQ's Quality Indicators Help Global Organization Track Health Quality in Over 30 Countries

August 2007

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has adapted AHRQ's Quality Indicators (QIs) as part of its effort to track the quality of health in nations around the world.

The OECD's Health Care Quality Indicator (HCQI) Project, begun in 2001, represents the largest international effort ever to track health quality, both in terms of the breadth of quality indicators and the number of participating nations. By providing technical support and staffing to the OECD in 2005-2006, AHRQ has helped reestablish the HCQI project as a leading international initiative.

OECD intends to use the indicators to explore why the quality of health care varies widely among nations. When nations are shown to perform well in specific areas, those nations' "best practices" may be used as models for improvement by other nations.

Currently, 32 nations are participating in the project, ranging from the Czech Republic to Japan to Mexico. Work is underway to implement more quality indicators and data collection in the areas of patient safety, mental health, primary care, and prevention. This represents the first time that data on patient safety and mental health will be developed for international reporting.

The OECD recently updated its list of quality indicators that are now available for international reporting of health quality. Among the 19 indicators are the following:

  • Five-year survival rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer.
  • Mammography screening rates.
  • Incidence of pertussis, measles, and hepatitis B, all preventable diseases with vaccines.
  • Asthma mortality rates for people aged 5 to 39.
  • Waiting times for surgery after hip fracture for people older than 65.
  • Influenza vaccinations for people over 65.
  • Smoking rates.
  • Retinal exams in diabetic patients.

The HCQI Project reports are available from the OECD Web site at http://www.oecd.org/health/hcqi.

Information about AHRQ's Quality Indicators can be found at http://www.qualityindicators.ahrq.gov.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): HCUP-Quality Indicator, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)
Topics(s): Quality
Geographic Location: International
Implementer: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Date: 08/01/2007
Page last reviewed October 2014