Quality Improvement Resources

Welcome to CHAMPS online quality improvement (QI) resources. This set of resources is intended to assist Region VIII Community Health Centers (CHCs) in becoming more familiar with the functions of quality improvement. Please contact the CHAMPS Clinical Quality Improvement Director if you have any questions about these materials or would like to share other useful resources you have found.

Please follow the links below:
Brief History of QI in CHCs
Links to Online QI Tools
QI Plan Assistance
QI Terms and Acronyms, Strategizing, and Decision Making


Since the formation of CHCs during the 1960s, the goal has been to improve the health of underserved communities across the nation. In the decades following, questions were raised as to whether CHCs provided good health care. Literature on QI efforts in CHCs began to surface in the 1990s and CHCs became increasingly interested in learning how to continually improve services and demonstrate improved outcomes.

One of the largest QI undertakings in CHCs to date was the Health Disparities Collaborative™ (HDC). Initiated in 1998 by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the goal of the HDC was to improve health outcomes for all medically underserved people with chronic diseases. The Chronic Care Model (CCM) was utilized as the overarching model for the HDC. The CCM describes multiple dimensions that need to be addressed for health care services and patient outcomes to be improved; community resources and policies, healthcare organization, self-management support, decision support, delivery system design, and clinical information systems.

The HDC emphasized rapid Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles among other QI methods. CHCs were taught through learning sessions based on a learning and improvement model adapted from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series. The first HDC program focused on improving diabetes care.

Initially, only five high-functioning health centers were chosen to pilot the HDC in 1998. By 2004, 497 CHCs were participating in the HDC. In addition to diabetes, the HDC focused on cardiovascular disease, asthma, depression, cancer, and the business case/redesign during the decade following 1998.

In more recent years, HRSA has encouraged PCAs to continue to support QI efforts in CHCs utilizing the methods and tools taught by the HDC as well as other QI methods. HRSA initiated the HIV/AIDS Cross Part Collaborative in 2008, and the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative in 2011. HRSA also formalized support for the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Meaningful Use models in 2011 to continue QI efforts in CHCs.


Global Voice of Quality
American Society for Quality
A global community providing information about quality improvement tools, ideas, events, trainings, and best practices

Health Center Resource Clearinghouse
National Association of Comunity Health Associations (NACHC)
Assembled Quality Improvement resources that cover a variety of topics

Health Center Quality Improvement
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC)
Addresses Clinical Quality Improvement, Performance Measures, Support Systems, etc. relating to the Health Center Program

Improvement Resources
Healthcare Communities
A web-based system that provides multiple means for the healthcare quality improvement community to share knowledge and contribute to each others’ QI work (formerly the Health Disparities Collaborative webpage)

Innovations and Quality Tools
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Provides over 600 innovations carried out by healthcare organizations including the problem addressed, description of the activity, and results, and also provides over 1,500 quality improvement tools including guides, toolkits, methods, and best practices to improve care

Integrating Chronic Care and Business Strategies in the Safety Net: A Toolkit for Primary Care Practices and Clinics
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Informs safety net providers on how to redesign their systems of care along the lines of the Chronic Care Model while attending to financial realities

Knowledge Center
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Provides tools, change ideas, quality measures, white papers, audio, video, improvement stories, and more

National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
A source for data on more than 250 measures of care quality, access, and disparities that cover a broad array of healthcare services and settings of care.

National Quality Strategy Tools
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
An introduction to the National Quality Strategy and links to stakeholder toolkits

National Committee for Quality Assurance
In addition to accreditation and certification resources and products, NCQA is a resource for health care measures data reports and provides access to PCMH benchmarking tools

Patient Safety, Quality, and Risk Management Products/Services
ECRI Institute
Institute provides clinical risk management program resources on behalf of HRSA, for free to HRSA-funded organizations, including evidence-based reviews, courses for continuing education credit, sample policies, standards and guidelines, and newsletters

Questions are the Answer
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Online resources to promote patient involvement and improved provider-patient communication.

Resource Library
Improving Chronic Illness Care
Offers a range of resources and tools designed for leading and managing improvement efforts within a variety of settings

Standardized Healthcare Performance Measures
National Quality Forum (NQF)
Reviews, endorses, and recommends the use of standardized healthcare performance measures, also called quality measures

Team STEPPS for Office Based-Care
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

This program adapts the traditional TeamSTEPPS concepts for use with office-based teams. TeamSTEPPS offers techniques, tools, and strategies to assist healthcare professionals optimize team knowledge and performance.


All CHCs should have a QI plan in place. Following is an excellent tool designed to assist health centers with an assessment of the current QI plan, equip staff to revise the plan, provide a QI plan design with a description of each plan element, and ensure all the necessary elements are contained in the plan:
Quality Plan Assessment Tool
Georgia Association for Primary Health Care

Highlights the important role of an effective QI Plan in improving the performance of an organization’s healthcare systems:
Developing and Implementing a QI Plan
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Template for creating a QI Plan designed for a small facility:
Quality Improvement Plan Template
Maine Medical Association


Please follow the links below for more QI resources:
Clinical Quality Improvement Decision-Making and Flows 
Quality Improvement Glossary of Terms and Acronyms
Quality Improvement Strategizing