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AHCPR Unveils Its Updated Health Care Quality Improvement Database

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Press Release Date: May 20, 1999

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) today released an expanded, more user-friendly version of its quality improvement database CONQUEST (the COmputerized Needs-oriented QUality Measurement Evaluation SysTem). This new version, CONQUEST 2.0, includes more clinical performance measures and medical conditions than the previous version, as well as new information on how to select and apply the measures.

"CONQUEST 2.0 will improve health care by offering a free, easy-to-use way to select appropriate, tested, and reliable measures of quality," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHCPR administrator. "AHCPR will work with the users of CONQUEST to help ensure that the promise of effective quality measurement is translated into high quality health care."

This database will help health care and quality improvement professionals quickly identify, understand, compare, evaluate, and select measures to assess and improve clinical performance in acute, ambulatory, long-term, and home health care settings. The measures cover children and adults and include many different common and costly diagnoses and conditions, which are, in turn, linked with evidence-based treatment guidelines.

David Lansky, president of the Foundation for Accountability said, "We are facing an exploding demand for quality and accountability tools throughout health care, particularly by benefits managers and consultants, state and federal agencies, and health system leaders. CONQUEST 2.0 is the most efficient and comprehensive tool for helping those diverse users identify sound measurement tools to evaluate quality of care."

This database can help users compare clinical performance within and across an organization, establish benchmarks and identify best practices, target opportunities for quality improvement, and measure changes in quality over time.

"CONQUEST 2.0 is a great resource for anyone interested in health care performance measurement," said National Committee on Quality Assurance President (NCQA), Margaret E. O'Kane. "The electronic tool will allow health plans, providers, and others to gain ready access to measures, and will greatly assist them in their efforts to collect and report performance data."

CONQUEST 2.0 includes new measure sets, including RAND's hysterectomy measures on assessing appropriate procedures and HCFA's Cooperative Cardiovascular Project and Pneumonia Module from the Medicare Quality Indicator System. In addition to new measure sets, others have been updated, such as NCQA's HEDIS measure set and the HCFA/University of Wisconsin's nursing home quality measures.

This updated version brings together a vast number of measures in a sophisticated, accessible, computerized package. It consists of linked databases comprised of clinical performance measures and conditions. The Conditions database includes 57 medical conditions, such as cancer, cataracts, gallbladder disease, heart attack, hypertension, and pregnancy. The Clinical Performance Measures database comprises 1,197 measures, such as percentage of patients with a heart attack who are discharged on beta blockers, percentage of nursing home residents diagnosed with depression who do not receive antidepressant therapy, or percentage of patients with pneumonia who receive correct antibiotics.

"With meaningful measurement of provider performance now emerging as a public policy priority, the announcement of CONQUEST 2.0 could not be more timely," says Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). "This comprehensive cataloging of measures and, in particular, a new specifications database will become a major resource for all users of performance measures."

Measures included in the database were contributed by many different developers, including the American Group Practice Association, Center for Clinical Quality Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs, JCAHO, Maryland Hospital Association, and Pacific Business Group on Health.

The CONQUEST 2.0 database and its User's Guide and Quick Start guide can be downloaded directly from AHCPR's Web site at The set of disks (AHCPR Pub. No.99-DPO1) and the User's Guide (AHCPR Pub. No.99-0011) and Quick Start guide (AHCPR Pub. No. 99-015) are available free from the AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse at 800-358-9295, or by writing to P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907.

For free technical assistance and information about CONQUEST 2.0, contact Marge Keyes, M.A., at (301) 427-1333 or by E-mail:

For additional information, please contact AHCPR Public Affairs: (301) 427-1364.

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


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