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New publication helps consumers understand and get quality health care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new publication, Guide to Health Care Quality: How To Know It When You See It, to help consumers identify high-quality health care. This booklet is part of AHRQ's new consumer education campaign to help people take a more active role in their own health care.

The Guide to Health Care Quality includes steps that consumers can take to improve their quality of care. It explains the difference between clinical measures and consumer ratings. Clinical measures, such as those in AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report, are used to track and improve the quality of care provided by doctors, hospitals, and other providers. While clinical measures can be used to assess quality of care, consumer ratings can indicate how satisfied people are with their health care. The booklet also lists Web sites and phone numbers for selected organizations and other resources.

The new booklet can be found online at AHRQ's Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/guidetoq/. Free single copies of the Guide to Health Care Quality: How To Know It When You See It (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0088) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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