Environmental Scan of Measures for Medicaid Title XIX Home and Community-Based Services

Glossary of Key Report Terms

This glossary includes clarifying definitions and examples of terms, as used in this report.

For additional terms, readers are referred to the following resources:

National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ (NQMC) Glossary, 2008:

Compendium of measures: A listing and brief summary of quantitative measures on a common topic, which includes information about the source, properties, and limitations of each measure.

Construct: Refer to "measure construct."

Dimension: One of the elements making up an entity or concept (e.g., efficiency is one dimension of quality).

Domain: Refer to "DRA domain" and "Institute of Medicine (IOM) quality domains."

DRA domain: The language of the DRA specified three broad areas of focus or "domains" for grouping measures: client satisfaction, client functioning, and program performance. Measures in each domain are expected to all be related to the topic. For the purpose of this report, "domain" refers only to the three focus areas listed in the DRA.

Indicator: Refer to "measure."

Institute of Medicine (IOM) quality domains: The IOM defines six "domains" of health care quality: effectiveness, efficiency, equity, patient centeredness (person centeredness), safety, and timeliness. Although not referenced in this report, the six IOM quality domains are discussed in the Methodology report for this project. In this report, the term "domain" always refers to "DRA domains." Refer to "DRA domain."

Instrument: Refer to "survey instrument."

Measure: Number assigned to objects or events according to some rule, to assess magnitude or related characteristics. A measure of consumer satisfaction, for example, may be the numeric ratio of all those expressing satisfaction with a service (numerator) to all those receiving the service (denominator); also check "quality measure."

Measure construct: The concept to be measured, e.g., adverse health events or access to preventive health services. Constructs are expressed in abstract, not quantitative, terms.

Measure databases: A searchable collection of quantitative measures from a variety of sources, possibly organized by topic or developer, such as the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ or the National Inventory of Mental Health Quality Measures.

Measure scan: A systematic examination across the universe of measures for a defined topic, to identify and document those with particular characteristics.

Measure set: A defined group of related measures, either derived from the same data source (e.g., OASIS measure set) or related to the same construct (e.g., Recommended Performance Measures for the Integrated Care Program or the Hermann Core Measure Set for mental health services).

Metric: Refer to "measure."

Performance measure: A generic term used to describe a numeric measure reporting on organizational activities and results.

Quality measure: Quantitative measure designed to assess a dimension of quality. Quality measures generally include the following: a descriptive statement (e.g., consumer satisfaction with primary provider); a list of the data elements needed for measure calculation and reporting; detailed specifications for data collection (including source); the relevant population; the timing of data collection and reporting; the analytic models; and the format for presenting results. Sometimes measures may include thresholds, standards, or other benchmarks.20,21 For examples, refer to the .

Subdomain: A subset of related concepts within a domain.

Survey: A method of gathering information from (or about) a sample of individuals. Surveys gather information from only a portion of a population of interest, in order to obtain a composite profile of the entire population. Standardized procedures are used for data collection so that every individual is asked the same questions in essentially the same way. Ideally, the sample is not selected haphazardly or through self-selection. It is chosen scientifically so that each person in the population will have a measurable probability of selection. This plan allows results to be reliably projected from the sample to the larger population.22 Modes of data collection can include telephone or in-person administration, as well as mail or electronic self-report; each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Survey instrument: A set of written questions used to collect data about a sample. Survey instruments typically include the response categories for the questions and instructions for standardized data collection. Survey instruments can be paper or in electronic form.

Survey tool: A compilation of forms, materials, and procedures used to collect and report data about a sample using standardized data collection and reporting procedures. At a minimum, a survey tool includes a survey instrument and detailed data collection instructions. It may also include sampling procedures and forms, materials for tracking data collection progress, letters of introduction, informed consent forms, sampling and statistical software, methods for risk adjustment or standardization, instructions on how to transmit data for processing and public reporting, and copies of the materials in alternate languages, among other materials.

Tool: A Web site, database, report, fact sheet, guide, compilation of materials, or other mechanism designed to assist the user.

Page last reviewed June 2010
Page originally created June 2010
Internet Citation: Glossary of Key Report Terms. Content last reviewed June 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/long-term-care/resources/hcbs/hcbsreport/hcbsgloss.html