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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
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Introduction & Overview

The HRSA Quality Toolkit

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Quality Toolkit is designed to assist a health care organization with its quality improvement (QI) efforts. The  toolkit is comprised of tools and resources to support an organization's new or existing QI program. 

The toolkit's wide range of practical, convenient, and useful tools were contributed and compiled from several HRSA organizations, where members have proven their usefulness in current QI health care delivery initiatives. The tools and resources were used for implementing data collection and performance measurement techniques, and the organizations that integrated their use into QI programs effectively improved their deliveries of care. These resources are adaptable and may be used to facilitate the implementation of a new QI program or fine tune an existing one.

The HRSA components that contributed tools and resources for this toolkit are:

  • HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB)
  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)
  • Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP)
  • Healthcare Systems Bureau (HSB)
  • Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC)

The HRSA Quality Toolkit:

  • Explains basic QI concepts to an organization that is new to QI
  • Provides examples and case studies of common QI scenarios
  • Demonstrates how to integrate a QI program with an organization's established goals for improving quality of care
  • Highlights the importance of staff involvement and provides guidance on actively involving staff in a QI program
  • Describes various systematic approaches to QI for multidisciplinary teams
  • Provides practical and actionable strategies to improve care outcomes in various settings and within diverse constraints
  • Helps an organization to develop an effective plan for collecting and analyzing data
  • Explains the importance of integrating evidence-based medicine within a QI program
  • Demonstrates the correlation between cultural competency and quality health care delivery 
  • Describes clinical quality measures and their uses for evaluating and measuring quality of care within an organization
  • Offers technical assistance for implementing clinical quality measures
  • Points to tools and resources external to the toolkit that an organization can access to further advance its quality objectives

The principles described in the toolkit can be generalized and applied to health conditions and clinical performance measures other than those presented, and often they can be integrated into an organization's existing QI program. Throughout the toolkit, there are case studies that demonstrate realistic applications of QI approaches by organizations that integrated the toolkit's tools and techniques into their health care delivery settings. The case studies provide actual scenarios to help an organization to conceptualize how to effectively use these QI strategies in its own setting.

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Meeting the Varying Needs of QI Leaders and Learners 

The HRSA Quality Toolkit addresses the needs of any QI leader who is responsible for effectively implementing a quality improvement program into its organization. There are several members within a health care organization that may find this toolkit particularly useful:

  • Providers, including doctors, dentists, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants
  • QI directors and administrators
  • Allied Healthcare Professionals, including nutritionists, social workers, dietitians, behavioral specialists, and other health care professionals

The toolkit addresses the needs of any organization that is interested in integrating QI into its delivery system. Whether it is the provider, QI director, or social worker who is at the preliminary stage of learning basic QI concepts, or a veteran QI team that is seeking the latest performance measurement strategies, the toolkit contains an array of beneficial tools to provide varying levels of assistance.

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How the HRSA Quality Toolkit Is Organized 

The HRSA Quality Toolkit is organized into autonomous modules that contain hyperlinks to other relevant information, glossaries, and resource lists. This type of organization allows modules to be reviewed independently if an organization is seeking topical information on a particular concept or clinical quality measure.

Introductory Modules

If a better understanding of the QI basics is needed, the toolkit provides a series of introductory modules that may be reviewed independently or sequentially. The introductory modules serve as the framework for the toolkit; they may benefit an organization in any stage of its QI education or implementation. The toolkit also provides an introductory module on clinical quality measures and the important role these specific performance measures have in health care settings. The module, Quality Improvement, provides an overview of QI concepts that an organization new to quality strategies and processes may find helpful. The module on Managing Data for Performance Improvement provides basic performance measurement and management concepts and outlines the types of data collection and analysis methods that are available for an effective QI program.

Clinical Quality Measures

The clinical quality measure modules provide the necessary details for an organization to implement each of the measures into its health care setting. Even an experienced QI specialist or director may benefit from the clinical quality measure modules, because the modules describe specific changes implemented by HRSA organizations that improve care and patient outcomes. The clinical quality measures covered in this toolkit are:

Note: If an organization is currently funded by HRSA, some clinical quality measures, including the HRSA Clinical Core Measures set and the the ones discussed within the Quality Toolkit, may be among those that will be reported to HRSA. An organization should consult its program's Web site for more information and links to Bureau- and Office-required guidelines and measures:
BPHC        MCHB        HAB         HSB         BCRS         BHPr         ORHP         OHITQ         ORO

General information on HRSA grants including searchable guidelines, are available and accessible at the HRSA Grants website.
** Grantees are encouraged to contact their project officer with questions regarding program requirements **


Other Relevant QI Modules

The toolkit provides additional modules that may serve the needs of an experienced QI user. These modules present detailed discussions of pivotal QI concepts and how best to apply them and include:

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Multiple Formats to Support Varying Needs of Organizations 

The HRSA Quality Toolkit is designed to support the varying needs of a large body of organizations, and it provides relevant information, resources, and tools in multiple formats to accommodate those needs:

  • A printable Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file that contains a comprehensive description of QI concepts
  • Autonomous modules, suitable for training purposes, are provided in printable or web-accessible formats
  • A web portal that allows users to easily navigate through the toolkit, with embedded hyperlinks to other important online tools and resources

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