Healthcare is falling victim to a classic misunderstanding about quality. When the “experts” in any industry define quality, they often use technical gee-whiz measures that can miss what the customer wants.

The title of a statement by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) asked, “What is Health Care Quality and Who Decides?”. The statement goes on to say, “the Agency fulfills this mission.” A number of federal and state agencies have taken admirable strides toward collecting and using quality metrics, but do these truly measure healthcare quality? How will the best healthcare providers and payers build healthcare systems to deliver quality metrics during the coming five years?

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