About TalkingQuality

Purpose of TalkingQuality: To Improve Consumer Reports on Health Care Quality

TalkingQuality is a comprehensive resource and guide for organizations that produce and disseminate reports to consumers on the quality of care provided by health care organizations (e.g., hospitals, health plans, medical groups, nursing homes) and individual physicians.

Sponsors of consumer reports share a common mission: Improving the quality of care that consumers receive. They also share a common challenge: How do you convey comparative information about health care quality in a way that achieves the following objectives?

  • Consumers are motivated to use it.
  • Consumers can understand it.
  • Consumers can apply the information to their own health care choices.

TalkingQuality was created to help you answer this question. It offers:

  • Innovative ideas for communicating complex information on health care quality to consumers,
  • Information on the latest research findings, and
  • Real-world examples to illustrate various approaches and concepts.

While this site focuses on the challenges and process of consumer reporting, much of the guidance applies equally well to organizations producing reports on health care quality to drive quality improvement and to inform other audiences, such as providers, payers, employers, and other stakeholders.

How TalkingQuality Can Help You

It’s not easy to provide consumers with useful comparative information about health care quality. For many report developers, it is quite a challenge to sum up and present in an objective way what’s known about the quality of health plans and providers in terms of their effectiveness, patient-centeredness, safety, timeliness, equity, and efficiency.1 

The issues and the data are complex, confusing, unfamiliar, and abstract. As a result, much of the information about quality that is currently available to consumers is hard to understand and even harder to use when making a health care decision. 

Although it may seem straightforward to report information to the public, many report sponsors have found that doing it right takes planning, insight into the tasks that consumers face when making choices, and the ability to transform data into actionable information. 

If you’ve taken on this challenge, TalkingQuality can make your job easier. 

Expert Advice and the Best Available Evidence of What Works

TalkingQuality walks through the decisions you have to make when developing and disseminating a quality report and offers practical advice based on what has been shown to work. This content is based on a review of the literature (some unpublished) as well as input from a variety of sources, including:

  • Experienced developers of consumer reports on quality.
  • Experts and researchers in the field of quality reporting.
  • Researchers in related fields, such as health communications, health promotion, disease prevention, social marketing, and linguistics.

Review a bibliography of articles and resources related to public reporting on health care quality.


Throughout TalkingQuality, you will find examples of innovative and effective ways to present and describe performance data.

Help in Setting Achievable Goals

TalkingQuality can help you figure out what to expect from your audience and what it will take to effect measurable change. You can also learn how to assess your progress so that you can determine how to improve your report and manage the expectations of funders, partners, and the media.

Developers of TalkingQuality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) TalkingQuality Web site builds upon a site first released in 2001. The current version was developed through a contract with Westat, in Rockville, Maryland, by a research team with expertise and experience in public reporting. This team worked with reporting experts involved in AHRQ’s CAHPS Consortium as well as an Editorial Board composed of experienced report sponsors and reporting experts. 

1These six aims of quality health care are defined in the Institute of Medicine’s report Crossing the Quality Chasm.

Page last reviewed August 2016
Page originally created August 2016
Internet Citation: About TalkingQuality. Content last reviewed August 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/talkingquality/about/index.html
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