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Press Release Date: April 25, 2002
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today jointly announced the official launch of a new government Web site designed to help benefit managers, consumer advocates, and state officials communicate with their audiences about health care quality. The site, https://www.talkingquality.ahrq.gov, provides step-by-step instructions on how to implement a quality measurement and reporting project, such as a health plan report card.
"This Web site is an important resource in helping organizations educate consumers about the quality of their health care," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "It provides them with the tools to give the American public the information they want and need to make informed decisions about their health care."
Research shows that health care quality varies widely across health plans and providers. Research also shows that Americans want and value quality care, but may lack access to information that would help them with the critical health care choices they face. The TalkingQuality Web site is designed for people and organizations trying to address that need. The Web site provides practical advice and examples on what to say about health care quality, how to say it, and how best to get that information, especially information on plans and providers, into the hands of consumers.
TalkingQuality.gov covers the entire process of quality reporting from initial planning to evaluation, with useful information for those both with and without experience in producing quality reports. Specifically, the site includes tips on getting started on a quality project, collecting and analyzing data, presenting and disseminating information, providing ongoing support for a quality reporting effort, and evaluating the project. A special feature is the Planning Workbook, a downloadable companion to the Web site. It is designed to help develop customized plans for presenting quality health care information. Throughout the site, there are Workbook icons that remind users when the Workbook may be useful.
The site was developed through the Quality Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force, established to ensure that all Federal agencies with health care responsibilities are working in a coordinated way to improve quality of care.
For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364.