NQF issues quality data standard for electronic health records

The National Quality Forum today released a standard set of definitions for capturing quality data on electronic health records and other sources of electronic health information.

According to a release, the NQF announced that the Quality Data Set (QDS) is a common technological framework for defining clinical data necessary to measure performance and accelerate improvement in patients’ quality of care. In it, the QDS framework provides a standardized set of data that should be captured in patients’ electronic health records and is applicable to all care settings a patient is likely to use in his or her lifetime.

By providing a common language to describe the information within quality measures, the QDS enables quality measurement from a variety of electronic sources, including electronic health records (EHRs), personal health records (PHRs), registries and health information exchanges (HIEs). The framework consists of standard elements (a code list for a specific condition such as diabetes, or a medication such as aspirin); quality data elements (information describing the context of use in the clinical care process such as a past history of diabetes or the administration of aspirin); and data flow attributes (the sources of the information —who is providing the standard and quality data elements, what the care setting is, etc.)

(SOURCES: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, November 12, 2009; The National Quality Forum, http://qualityforum.org, accessed November 24, 2009)