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HHS National Quality Strategy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the National Quality Strategy for Improvement in Health Care in March 2011. The strategy set priorities and outlined a strategic plan to help guide local, state, and national health care quality improvement efforts.

Overall, the National Quality Strategy, which was developed under the Affordable Care Act and is updated annually, has three broad aims:

  • Better Care: Improve the overall quality by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe. 
  • Healthy People/Healthy Communities: 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. 
  • Affordable Care: Reduce the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and government. 

To achieve these aims, the National Quality Strategy focuses on six priorities, which were established based on evidence-based research and stakeholder input:

  1. making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care
  2. ensuring that each person and family is engaged as a partner in 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 health care delivery models


AHRQ Working for Quality

Access additional tools and resources about the National Quality Strategy from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

National Quality Strategy (NQS) Stakeholder Toolkit

This toolkit includes fact sheets, blogs, social media announcements, and slide decks that can be used to support NQS-related activities at public and private organizations.

Principles for the National Quality Strategy (NQS)

The NQS is anchored in a core set of 10 principles that provide a roadmap for achieving the strategy’s three aims of better care, healthy people/healthy communities, and affordable care.


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