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Before You Begin

High-quality health care is something we all want. But research shows that many people do not have the information they need to make informed health care choices. The first step is to understand what quality means and how it is measured. To find out, go to A Quick Look at Quality.

This guide can help you find and use information about quality that is based on research. You can use this information as you make five important health care decisions:

  1. Choosing a Health Plan.
  2. Choosing a Doctor.
  3. Choosing Treatments.
  4. Choosing a Hospital.
  5. Choosing Long-term Care.

It also tells how you can:

Each section also has Quick Checks for Quality, checklists which summarize the major ways you can check for quality health care. If you want more detailed information, refer to the resources at the end of each section.

This guide is not meant to be read all at once. Download or print it out and use it as a reference when you need it. Also, it isn't necessary or practical for any one person to do everything this guide suggests. Pick and choose what you need and what feels comfortable for you to try.

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The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care