How do we establish a continuous quality improvement process?

Achieving Meaningful Use

Achieving meaningful use is an important stepping stone to establishing a continuous quality improvement process and improving organizational efficiency, health care quality, and patient outcomes. The meaningful use objectives will evolve in three stages:

  • Stage 1 (2011-2012): Data capture and sharing
  • Stage 2 (2014): Advanced clinical processes
  • Stage 3 (2016): Improved outcomes

By achieving meaningful use, your organization can access and analyze data to help measure and improve health care quality and patient outcomes.

Continuous Quality Improvement

Your organization should use a planned, strategic approach to continuous quality improvement (CQI). To establish an effective CQI strategy, you should:1

  • Choose and use a model for quality improvement: You can use the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Strategies to Optimize your Practice [PDF - 1.7 MB] primer to learn more about different CQI strategies.
  • Establish metrics to evaluate quality improvement efforts and outcomes: You should establish metrics to monitor and evaluate the success of your quality improvement efforts. Remember to begin with a clear vision of the desired future state.
  • Ensure all staff members understand the metrics for success: You may need to train your staff or perform pilot tests of certain metrics to ensure everyone in your organization understands and buys-in to your quality improvement metrics.
  • Involve patients, families, providers, and care team members in quality improvement activities: Involving everyone in your quality improvement process will improve buy-in across your organization.
  • Optimize your EHR and achieve meaningful use: You should focus on understanding the structures (technology and people) and processes that will ultimately lead to your organization’s future state.

CQI is a complex process, and these are just the basics. The Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Strategies to Optimize your Practice [PDF - 1.7 MB]  primer will help you learn more about CQI, the leading CQI strategies in health care, and how to choose a CQI strategy.

For More Information

For more information on quality improvement and how you can use EHRs to improve health care quality, see the following resources.


  1. Wagner EH, Coleman K, Reid RJ, Phillips K, Abrams MK, Sugarman JR. “The changes involved in patient-centered medical home transformation.” Prim Care. 2012.
Content last reviewed on May 15, 2019
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