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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care


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.

A plain, straight-text HTML version of the Guide (HTML files, 141 KB) is available for those who wish to excerpt and otherwise manipulate the contents for use in newsletters, brochures, other print products, and electronic versions. If you use the Guide for such purposes, please acknowledge in your product that it was adapted from information produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. To copy the HTML version, view each file and select "Edit" and "Save As" in your browser; then indicate where to save the file. Note that the HTML version consists of 12 files, including a JPG image file.

A summary of the major ways you can check for quality health care can be found in:

PDF Files require the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™, which you can download free from

Current as of September 2002

Internet Citation:

Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care: Summary. Consumer Information, September 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care