HHS Unveils First National Strategy to Improving Healthcare Quality

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new National Quality Strategy earlier this week to create national aims and priorities to guide local, state, and national efforts to improve the quality of healthcare. The National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care was called for under the Affordable Care Act and is the first of such national efforts in the United States.

The National Quality Strategy will promote quality healthcare that is patient- and community-focused. “At the same time, the strategy is designed to move the system to work better for doctors and other healthcare providers—reducing their administrative burdens and helping them collaborate to improve care,” according to an HHS release.

The strategy presents three aims for the national healthcare system:

· Improve the overall quality of care by making healthcare more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe.

· Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care.

· Reduce the cost of quality healthcare for individuals, families, employers, and government.

To help achieve these aims, the strategy also establishes six priorities:

1. Making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care.

2. Ensuring that each person and family is engaged as partners in their care.

3. Promoting effective communication and coordination of care.

4. Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.

5. Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living.

6. Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new healthcare delivery models.

For more information about the National Quality Strategy, visit www.ahrq.gov/workingforquality.

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