Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care was developed to help you make health care decisions using information about quality. The Guide is based on research about the information people want and need when choosing health plans, doctors, treatments, hospitals, and long-term care. These are the major decisions most people face at one time or another during their lives—either for themselves or for a loved one.

Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care shows how you can use information about quality to improve the quality of health care services you and your family receive. It describes quality measures including consumer ratings, clinical performance measures, and accreditation—what they are, where to find them, and how to use them. The Guide has checklists, questions, charts, and other tools to help you make the health care decisions that are right for you.

This guide was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in cooperation with other agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other public- and private-sector health organizations. AHRQ was formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)

AHRQ is the lead Federal Agency charged with sponsoring and conducting research on the quality and outcomes of health care services, as well as the cost, use, and access to those services.

For more information on AHRQ-sponsored research and products, call 1-800-358-9295, or visit AHRQ’s site on the World Wide Web,

For reliable consumer health and human services information and resources, visit the healthfinder® gateway Web site, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at