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Inside Our Reports

The Community Checkup is where you can find public results for measures of health care quality, patient experience, and cost, produced by the Washington Health Alliance (Alliance). More than half of the measures are part of the Washington State Common Measure Set for Health Care Quality and Cost (Common Measure Set). The measures provide a common way of tracking important elements of health and health care performance and are intended to inform public and private health care purchasing of health insurance benefits.

What is quality measurement in health care?

Health care quality measurement is the process of using data to evaluate the performance of health care providers and health plans against well-accepted quality standards. Quality measures evaluate care across a range of health care settings, from doctors’ offices to hospitals. Measuring the quality of health care is necessary for improving health care quality.

Bringing transparency to the health care system helps:

  • Providers compare their own performance to their peers and find areas to improve.
  • Consumers, employers and other health care purchasers find higher value care.

How are quality measures developed?

Quality measurement begins with research that links a treatment or procedure with improved patient health. This evidence is then used to create clinical practice guidelines. Quality measures translate the clinical practice guideline into a measurement tool. In general, the process of developing a quality measure includes:

  • Convening a committee of experts and other stakeholders.
  • Evaluating the evidence base and reaching consensus on the best measurement approach.
  • Developing and vetting detailed specifications (i.e., definitions) about what will be measured and how.
  • Testing the measure to make sure it works.
  • Approving the measure.

The measures in the Community Checkup were selected by Alliance committees that include providers, quality improvement experts, health care purchasers and other health care experts. The first Community Checkup report was released in 2008, and over time, the selection of measures and public reporting has evolved.

In 2014, legislation (ESHB 2572) was passed to create a Common Measure Set in Washington state. A statewide performance measurement committee was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to oversee selection of the performance measures set. Technical workgroups, which included representatives from health research, medicine, behavioral health, insurance plans, public health, health care practices, consumer groups, minority populations and the business community, researched and recommended health and health care quality measures. Learn more about the Common Measure Set.

Where does the data come from?

The Community Checkup relies on two categories of data to produce results:

  • The Alliance maintains a robust database that includes health care claims data and reflects care provided to millions of people in Washington.
  • Results for some measures are provided by partner organizations, including the Washington State Hospital Association, the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, the Washington State Health Care Authority and the National Committee on Quality Assurance.

Learn more about the process for developing the Community Checkup