Information about the National Quality Strategy

Health and Human Services (HHS) manage the National Quality Strategy (NQS), a publication of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Several stakeholders contributed to the development of the National Quality Strategy through a transparent and collaborative process. More than 300 groups, organizations, and individuals, representing all sectors of the health care industry and the general public, submitted comments. As a result of this input, the National Quality Strategy identified three overarching aims based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim®, supported by six priorities that address the most common health concerns Americans face. In order to align core business functions with National Quality Strategy’s aims and priorities, stakeholders can use nine levers.

Improving quality by working together

Health and health care quality can only be enhanced if all sectors, including individuals, families, payers, providers, employers, and communities, make it their mission to do so. In order to align with the National Quality Strategy, health care providers should:

Implement the three aims to provide better, more affordable care for individuals and communities. Improve the health and quality of health care by focusing on the six priorities.

Identify core business functions, resources, and/or actions that can be implemented to achieve better health and health care quality by utilizing one or more of the nine levers.

Learn more about the National Quality Strategy’s impact on the nation’s health and health care in the 2015 Annual Progress Report, in the Priorities in Action section, or by watching past webinars for examples of quality improvement efforts aligned with the NQS.

Alignment of Measurements

As part of the National Quality Strategy, clinical quality measures that are used in national programs are also emphasized. The goal is to get to the measures that matter while minimizing the provider burden. To align measures across HHS, the HHS Measurement Policy Council was formed in early 2012. Besides developing and implementing new measures, the group also addresses measurement policy. The group comprises senior-level representatives from Agencies and operating divisions across HHS. The Council has reviewed nine topics so far: hypertension control, hospital-acquired conditions/patient safety, HCAHPs, smoking cessation, depression screening and care coordination, HIV/AIDS, perinatal, and obesity/BMI. You can view the core measure sets that the Measurement Policy Council developed for each topic here: (PDF File, 257 KB; PDF Help).

Although these measures are used by Federal programs, the Measurement Policy Council supports State and private sector efforts to adopt core measure sets for further harmonization and alignment across the health and health care community.


as a guide to improving health and the quality of health care at the local, state, and national levels.

  • Provide better health care by improving patient-centeredness, reliability, accessibility, and safety.
  • People/Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions that address behavioral, social, and environmental health determinants in addition to delivering high-quality services.
  • Reducing the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and governments.

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