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Measure Summaries FAQs

Scope of NQMC

What is the Domain Framework underpinning NQMC?

There are many dimensions of performance related to clinical health care delivery and population health within which measures can be developed. The classification of domains relies on a concept of criterion of quality that differentiates quality measures from related measures.

NQMC contains two major categories of measures: health care delivery measures and population health measures. Health care delivery measures are measures of care delivered to individuals and populations defined by their relationship to clinicians, clinical delivery teams, delivery organizations, or health insurance plans. Population health measures are measures that address health issues of individuals or populations defined by residence in a geographic area or a relationship to organizations that are not primarily organized to deliver or pay for health care services (such as schools or prisons).

Within each of the two major categories there are three sub-groups: quality measures, related health measures, and efficiency measures. Quality measures are supported by evidence demonstrating that they indicate better or worse care. Related health care measures assess non-quality aspects and are not supported by evidence demonstrating that they indicate better or worse care. Efficiency measures require balancing quality against health care-related cost.

See the Domain Framework and Domain Definitions for a listing of NQMC measure domains.

What measure domains are represented in NQMC?

See the Domain Framework and Domain Definitions for a listing of NQMC measure domains.

Where can I find definitions and examples of terms used in the NQMC summary to describe common properties of health care measures?

See the Glossary for clarifying definitions and examples.

Does NQMC provide benchmarking data or measure results?

NQMC is a public repository for evidence-based quality measures and measure sets that meet the NQMC inclusion criteria. NQMC does not provide benchmarking data or measure results.

Does NQMC develop measures or provide specific guidance for developing measures?

NQMC is a public repository for evidence-based quality measures and measure sets that meet the NQMC inclusion criteria. NQMC does not develop measures or provide specific guidance for developing measures.

What are UMLS concepts, and how are they used on NQMC?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) External Web Site Policy has developed the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) External Web Site Policy to "facilitate the development of computer systems that behave as if they 'understand' the meaning of the language of biomedicine and health." The UMLS consists of 3 knowledge sources, the Metathesaurus, the Semantic Network and the Specialist Lexicon, as well as computer tools to help developers integrate the information from these sources.

The Metathesaurus is a collection of more than 100 controlled vocabularies, thesauri, and code sets linked together via high-level semantic concepts. NQMC's master's level indexers apply terms from selected UMLS vocabularies to each measure summary and expert commentary to facilitate searching and browsing and to create relationships between similar documents. These vocabularies are:

  • Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)
  • International Classification of Diseases – Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM)
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • Physician Data Query (PDQ)
  • Standard Product Nomenclature (SPN)
  • Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine (Clinical Terms) (SNOMED CT)
  • UMLS Metathesaurus (MTH)
  • Universal Medical Device Nomenclature System (UMDNS)

Inclusion Criteria and Copyright Permission

What are NQMC's criteria for inclusion?

See the Inclusion Criteria page.

What is NQMC's submission, inclusion, and rejection process?

Measure developing organizations are welcome to submit measures to NQMC to be considered for inclusion. Submission guidance is provided on the Submit Measures page.

After measures are submitted to NQMC and copyright is received (if applicable), the measures are reviewed against the NQMC Inclusion Criteria; the measure developer is notified of the submission status and, if applicable, inclusion criteria review items requiring further attention (e.g., confirmation of current use, evidence of reliability/validity testing). If the measure submission meets the inclusion criteria, the measures then enter the NQMC work queue; the measure summaries are prepared and reviewed and then sent to the measure developer for verification. After receiving developer verification, the measures are finalized for publication to the NQMC Web site. All measures published to the NQMC Web site are reassessed for currency annually.

Measure submissions that do not meet the NQMC inclusion criteria are recommended for rejection by NQMC staff. An NQMC senior staff member carefully reviews the recommendation to reject (including the basis) and sends the recommendation to AHRQ for review prior to notifying the measure submitter that the measure submission does not meet the inclusion criteria. Historically, NQMC has had very few measure rejections given the flexible Domain Framework which allows for the inclusion of a wide variety of measures and existing evidence requirements.

Is a submitted measure automatically in the public domain or can a proprietary measure be submitted and included in NQMC without relinquishing ownership of the instrument?

Submitting a measure to NQMC does not mean that you will be relinquishing ownership of your instrument (should it be accepted for inclusion in NQMC). NQMC creates a structured abstract of each measure (measure summary). Complete measure specification information is not included in the measure summaries. In addition, providing direct access to the full-text of your instrument/measure on the NQMC Web site is not required. Alternatively, you may provide us with ordering information for users who wish to acquire the full measure from the developer.

Are there copyright restrictions on the information accessed through the NQMC Web site at www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov?

There are no copyright restrictions that prevent users from copying and/or distributing content (i.e., measure summaries, expert commentaries) found on NQMC, provided that it is appropriately identified. This material is available for public use, and we encourage its distribution, particularly for educational purposes. NQMC content may not be used for commercial and/or product endorsement purposes.

Although most of NQMC's content is free of restrictions, exceptions occur where individual measure developers have requested otherwise. Refer to the Copyright Statement field at the end of each summary to determine whether such restrictions apply and if users need to contact the measure developer.

NQMC seeks and receives permission from measure developers to include summaries of the original measure specifications that appear at www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov. NQMC does not have the authority to grant copyright clearance for the original measure specifications upon which the summaries are based. If you are interested in using/distributing the original measure specifications, you must contact the measure developer.

Are measure summaries available in a downloadable format?

Each measure summary provides several download types: PDF (download the free Adobe Reader External Web Site Policy), Word (compatible with Word XP and higher), and XML via the Download link at the top of the summary. A citation for individual measure summaries can also be downloaded into a citation manager by clicking on the Cite link.

How do I obtain the original measure documentation upon which the NQMC measure summary is based?

For measures for which NQMC has received the necessary permissions from the measure developer, links are provided from the NQMC summary to the original measure documentation at the developer's Web site. Users can find this link by referring to the "Source" tab at the top of each summary or by going to the Measure Availability field that appears near the end of each summary. NQMC is unable to fulfill orders for printed copies of the original measure documentation.

How do I cite the information found at the NQMC Web site (e.g., a measure summary, expert commentary or measure tutorial)?

The suggested citation format for a Measure Summary:

  • National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC). Measure summary: [insert title of summary]. In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

    Example: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC). Measure summary: Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair: mortality rate. In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited 2008 Mar 19]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

    Note: If you are citing the original measure upon which the summaries are based, please refer to the "Source" field included in each measure summary.

The suggested citation format for an Expert Commentary:

  • Author [insert Commentary author]. Commentary title. In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

    Example: Wachter RM. Is the Measurement Mandate Diverting the Patient Safety Revolution? In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited 2010 Feb 10]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

The suggested citation format for a Tutorial on Quality Measures:

  • Tutorials on Quality Measures: [insert title of tutorial]. In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

    Example: Tutorials on Quality Measures: Selecting Quality Measures. In: National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) [Web site]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); [cited 2014 Feb 20]. Available: https://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov.

Publication Activity

How can I find out about new measure summaries published to the NQMC Web site?

See the New This Week page.

You can register for the NQMC update e-mail service to receive notices of weekly additions and updates posted to the Web site. Go to the Subscribe to Weekly E-mail page to register for this service.

How can I find out whether a particular measure will be added to NQMC in the future?

Users can go to the Measure Summaries in Progress page to see a list of measures in the work queue. Measures on this page include new and updated content that meet Inclusion Criteria and have the necessary copyright permissions.

How can I obtain an earlier version of a measure currently included in NQMC?

NQMC summaries reflect the most recent version of a measure. NQMC does not retain summaries of earlier versions of measures that have been updated or withdrawn by the developer. Contact the measure developer directly for information regarding earlier versions of a particular measure.

What happens when a measure summary is removed from the NQMC Web site?

See the Measure Summaries Archive for more information. This feature provides a complete list of summaries that have been withdrawn from the NQMC Web site. Information regarding a current measure summary, where available, is provided. The listings are organized alphabetically by measure developer.


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: October 03, 2016