Measuring success for health care quality improvement interventions

Med Care. 2012 Dec;50(12):1086-92. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318268e964.


Background: The lack of a standard measure of quality improvement (QI) success and the use of subjective or self-reported measures of QI success has constrained efforts to formally evaluate QI programs and to understand how the various contextual factors impact QI success.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess how best to measure "QI success" by comparing self-reported and externally rated measures of QI success.

Research design: We performed a retrospective evaluation that analyzed data on different measures of QI success for organizations after their staff completed the QI training.

Subjects: The sample included 30 organizations whose staff had received QI training during 2006-2008, and who had used this training to carry out at least some subsequent QI initiative in their organizations.

Measures: We developed 2 measures of self-reported QI success based on survey responses and 4 externally rated measures of QI success based on outcome data provided by the participating organizations in addition to qualitative data generated from the interviews.

Results: We found some variation in the mean scores of the different QI success measures and only moderate to small correlations between the self-report and externally rated QI measures.

Conclusions: This study confirms that there are important differences between self-reported and externally rated measures of QI success and provides researchers with a methodology and criteria to externally rate measures of QI success.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Administration / standards*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement / standards*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report*