Quality has been at the centre of recent NHS policy, and the NHS Next Stage Review highlighted the role of information and measurement in supporting quality improvement, particularly in relation to patient safety, clinical effectiveness and patient experience. It is therefore important to be clear how quality can be measured and by whom – and how the information can be used to improve services. If quality measurement is going to have greatest impact, all those involved – policy-makers, commissioners, board members, managers and clinicians – need to be aware of the opportunities and challenges it presents.
Getting the measure of quality offers information about how quality is defined and how quality measures can be used – and misused. It sets out the main debates and choices faced by those involved in measuring and using data on quality and outlines some practical issues to be considered in choosing and using quality measures.