The Affordable Care Act seeks to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. To that end, the law requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (the National Quality Strategy) that sets priorities to guide this effort.
The National Quality Strategy will promote quality health care in which the needs of patients, families, and communities guide the actions of all those who deliver and pay for care. It will incorporate the evidence-based results of the latest research and scientific advances in clinical medicine, public health, and health care delivery. It will foster a delivery system that works better for clinicians and provider organizations — reducing their administrative burdens and helping them collaborate to improve care. The implementation of this Strategy will lead to a measurable improvement in outcomes of care, and in the overall health of the American people.
The National Quality Strategy will pursue three broad aims. These aims will be used to guide and assess local, State, and national efforts to improve the quality of health care.
- 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 advance these aims, we plan to initially focus on six priorities. These priorities are based on the latest research, input from a broad range of stakeholders, and examples from around the country. These priorities have great potential for rapidly improving health outcomes and increasing the effectiveness of care for all populations.
- Making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care.
- Ensuring that each person and family are engaged as partners in their care.
- Promoting effective communication and coordination of care.
- Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.
- Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living.
- Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new health care delivery models.