As telehealth applications emerge, the need for accurate and reliable biosignal quality indices has increased. One typical modality used in remote patient monitoring is the electrocardiogram (ECG), which is inherently susceptible to several different noise sources, including environmental (e.g., powerline interference), experimental (e.g., movement artifacts), and physiological (e.g., muscle and breathing artifacts). Accurate measurement of ECG quality can allow for automated decision support systems to make intelligent decisions about patient conditions. This is particularly true for in-home monitoring applications, where the patient is mobile and the ECG signal can be severely corrupted by movement artifacts. In this paper, we propose an innovative ECG quality index based on the so-called modulation spectral signal representation. The representation quantifies the rate of change of ECG spectral components, which are shown to be different from the rate of change of typical ECG noise sources. The proposed modulation spectral-based quality index, MS-QI, was tested on 1) synthetic ECG signals corrupted by varying levels of noise, 2) single-lead recorded data using the Hexoskin garment during three activity levels (sitting, walking, running), 3) 12-lead recorded data using conventional ECG machines (Computing in Cardiology 2011 dataset), and 4) two-lead ambulatory ECG recorded from arrhythmia patients (MIT-BIH Arrhythmia Database). Experimental results showed the proposed index outperforming two conventional benchmark quality measures, particularly in the scenarios involving recorded data in real-world environments.