Quality Tool Box

Additional Links

Learn more about health care quality and related issues.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program that brings resources, expertise and training to improve health care quality in 15 communities nationwide by teaming up with those who get care, give care and pay for care.

Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) works directly with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers and consumer groups to develop programming that better serves people with high cost health care needs.

Center for Studying Health System Change informs policy makers and decision makers about how local and national changes in the delivery of health care affect people.

The Commonwealth Fund Health Care Quality Program works to improve the quality and efficiency of health care in the United States. The program is rooted in the belief that improvements are most likely to occur when the need for change is understood, measured, and publicly recognized; when providers have the capacity to initiate and sustain change; and when appropriate incentives are in place.

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) program develops and supports the use of standardized surveys that ask consumers and patients to report on and evaluate their experiences with health care. Health care organizations, public and private purchasers, consumers, and researchers use CAHPS results to assess the patient-centeredness of care, compare and report on performance and improve quality of care.

Consumers United for Evidence-based Healthcare (CUE) is a national partnership between consumer health advocacy groups and scientists involved in evidence-based health care that seeks to improve consumers’ ability to demand high quality health care.

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care uses Medicare data to document variations in health care spending throughout the U.S.

Institute for Family-Centered Care provides leadership to advance the understanding and practice of patient- and family-centered care in hospitals and other health care settings.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement was created to help health care professionals accelerate their progress towards performance improvement.

The Joint Commission provides nationally recognized accreditation and certification to health care organizations in the U.S.

National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) provides quality report cards for managed care plans, physicians, and other health care services.

National Minority Quality Forum uses evidence-based, data-driven initiatives to eliminate premature death and preventable illness in racial and ethnic minorities.

National Partnership for Women & Families' Americans for Quality Health Care campaign, run by the National Partnership, is comprised of multi-stakeholder Alliances and consumer advocates around the country working to improve the quality and safety of health care in this country.

National Quality Forum (NQF) is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of health care for all Americans by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs.

Patient Safety Blog - Telling Our Stories is a forum for patients to share their experiences regarding patient safety and medical errors.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Talking About Quality” offers a collection of slides that include health care statistics, facts, and messages related to health care quality and reform. The site is designed as a tool that will allow visitors to select the most relevant slides to create a personalized slide presentation for their personal use.

TalkingQuality.gov offers expert advice and approaches for those that are working to educate consumer about health care quality. It provides communications tips and strategies to help those who are providing consumer with information on the performance of health plans and providers


Access community health data and public reports on the performance of doctors across the country.

Physician Compare, a tool provided by Medicare, allows consumers to search for physicians by location and other preferences.

Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts presents free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states.

Health Grades provides ratings and profiles of hospitals, nursing homes and physicians in the US. Individual hospital, nursing home and physician reports cost between $9 and $15.

Hospital Compare, a tool provided by Medicare, provides information on how well hospitals care for patients with certain illnesses or having certain procedures. The information allows consumers to compare the quality of care hospitals provide.

Nursing Home Compare, a tool provided by Medicare, provides information about the performance of every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. The information allows consumers to compare the quality of nursing homes.

Patient Central allows consumers to rate their experience of care with their own doctor as well as search for doctors based on ratings from other patients. Currently data is available about doctors in Colorado, Greater Kansas City and Greater Memphis.

Report Cards, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), allow consumers to search for NCQA certified health plans, physicians and health care practice sites.

Stop Hospital Infections.org is an online petition to make hospital errors and mistakes public, so that action can be taken to prevent them.

Why Not the Best? | The Commonwealth Fund is an online tool that allows consumers to compare outcomes and quality reports of hospitals around the country.

US News & World Report Best Hospitals Report offers a listing of America’s best hospitals based on performance in complex, demanding situations like replacing a heart valve (and not in routine procedures like outpatient hernia repair.)


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