Measuring Performance 

The careful evaluation and endorsement of consensus standards is central to NQF's ongoing mission to improve the quality of American healthcare. Using its rigorous consensus development process, NQF fosters consensus among a wide variety of stakeholders around specific standards that can be used to measure and publicly report healthcare quality. Review all of NQF's current projects.

Consensus standards endorsed by NQF are used for measuring and publicly reporting on the performance of different aspects of the healthcare system, and are widely viewed as the "gold standard" for the measurement of healthcare quality. Access a current list of NQF-endorsed™ standards.

NQF endorses several different kinds of consensus standards, each of which can be used to assess different aspects of healthcare quality.

Performance Measures

NQF has a portfolio of endorsed performance measures that can be used to measure and quantify healthcare processes, outcomes, patient perceptions, and organizational structure and/or systems that are associated with the ability to provide high-quality care. Once a measure is endorsed by NQF, it can be used by hospitals, healthcare systems, and government agencies like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for public reporting and quality improvement.


For those areas in which measures of performance do not yet exist, practices can provide structured perspective for evaluating the development, expansion, and modifications of new and existing programs and their assessments around the area. Practices detail a specific process or manner of providing healthcare services or organization-level activities that, when executed, effectively lead to improved outcomes. Often, NQF's endorsement of one or more preferred practices serves as a step toward the eventual creation of performance measures by measure developers and the evaluation of those measures by NQF.


Frameworks offer a set of expectations designed to meet rigorous standards. In some cases, an NQF-endorsed framework can serve as the starting point for future NQF consensus development projects.

Reporting Guidelines

Reporting guidelines focus on how to select and report specific performance data, but do not identify the specific performance measures to be reported. Instead, guidelines provide evidence-, expert-, and consensus-based guidance on how to standardize the approach to public reporting of quality information. They may also identify additional resources that can be used in report construction and content development.