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NHQDR Glossary

Terms That Appear in the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports (NHQDR).


Table of Contents

Access to Care Priority Area
Achievable benchmark
Affordable Care Priority Area
American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN)
Basic activity limitations
Better quality
Black or African American
Care Coordination Priority Area
Clinical preventive services
Complex activity limitations
Congenital anomalies
Effective Treatment Priority Area
End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
Functional Status Preservation and Rehabilitation
Healthy Living Priority Area
High income
Hispanic or Latino
HIV Serostatus
Improving trends
Large central metro
Large fringe metro
Lifestyle Modification
Limited English proficiency (LEP)
Low income
Medium metro
Micropolitan areas
Middle income
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI)
Near poor
Noncore areas
Not Changing trends
Not poor
Patient Perception of Need
Patient Safety Priority Area
Person-Centered Care Priority Area
Reference Group
Same quality
Small metro
Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
Transition of care
Usual source of care
Worse quality
Worsening trends


Access to Care Priority Area – NASEM defines access to health care as having the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes. Measures of access to care include having health insurance, having a usual source of care, encountering difficulties when seeking care, and receiving care as soon as wanted.

Achievable benchmark – A high level of performance that has been attained to help readers understand national and state performance and to serve as an achievable quality improvement goal.

Affordable Care Priority Area – Affordable care means ensuring affordable and accessible high-quality healthcare for all. Measures of affordable care include measures of the financial burden of healthcare and delayed care or not receiving care because of cost.

American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Basic activity limitations – Problems with mobility, self-care (activities of daily living), domestic life (instrumental activities of daily living), and activities that depend on sensory functioning (limited to people who are blind or deaf).

Better quality – The priority population estimate are more favorable than reference group estimate by at least 10% and with p<0.05.

Black or African American  – A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as “Haitian” can be used in addition to “Black or African American.”

Care Coordination Priority Area – Data assessing the performance of the U.S. health care system in coordinating care across providers or services. Care coordination means having a healthcare system that is less fragmented and more organized, where handoffs are clear and patients and clinicians have the information they need. Measures of care coordination include measures of transition of care, sharing medication information, potentially avoidable hospitalization and ED visits.

Clinical preventive services – Routine disease screening counseling services, and scheduled immunizations that are key to reducing death and disability and improving the health.

Complex activity limitations – Limitations experienced in work and in community, social, and civic life. For the purpose of the NHQDR, adults with disabilities are those with physical, sensory, and/or mental health conditions that can be associated with a decrease in functioning in such day-to-day activities as bathing, walking, doing everyday chores, and engaging in work or social activities.

Congenital anomalies – Comprises a wide range of abnormalities of body structure or function that are present at birth and are of prenatal origin. These anomalies are structural changes that have significant medical, social or cosmetic consequences for the affected individual, and typically require medical intervention.

Effective Treatment Priority Area – The most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality. Effective care means delivering optimal treatments for acute illness to help reduce the consequences of illness and promote the best recovery possible. The effective treatment measures include measures for preventive care, treatment of acute illness, and chronic disease management.

End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) – A medical condition in which a person’s kidneys cease functioning on a permanent basis leading to the need for a regular course of long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Functional Status Preservation and Rehabilitation – Health care interventions that can help prevent diseases that commonly cause declines in functional status. Also includes other interventions, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services, that can help patients regain function that has been lost or minimize the rate of decline in functioning.

Healthy Living Priority Area  – Healthy living focuses on healthcare practices that help people maintain healthy lifestyles. Measures of healthy living include measures for clinical preventive services, maternal and child healthcare, and obesity and smoking prevention.

High income – Income 400% or more of FPL.

Hispanic or Latino – A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term “Spanish origin” can be used in addition to “Hispanic or Latino”.

HIV Serostatus – The state of either having or not having detectable antibodies against a specific antigen, as measured by a blood test (serologic test).

Improving trends – An average annual percentage change of 1% or greater in the desirable direction, and p <0.10.

Large central metro – Counties in metropolitan statistical area (MSA) of 1 million or more population that: (1) contain the entire population of the largest principal city of the MSA, or (2) are completely contained within the largest principal city of the MSA, or (3) contain at least 250,000 residents of any principal city in the MSA.

Large fringe metro – Counties in MSA of 1 million or more population that do not qualify as large central.

Lifestyle Modification – Altering long-term habits to improve health. This could include smoking cessation, engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.

Limited English proficiency (LEP) – Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English may be LEP and may be eligible to receive language assistance with respect to the particular service, benefit, or encounter.

Low income – Income 100% to less than 200% of FPL.

Medium metro – Counties in MSA of 250,000-999,999 population.

Micropolitan areas – Counties in a micropolitan statistical area.

Middle income – Income 200% to less than 400% of FPL

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI) – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

Near poor – Income 100% to less than 200% of the federal poverty level.

Noncore areas – Nonmetropolitan counties that are not in a micropolitan statistical area.

Not Changing trends – An average annual percentage change ≤1% per year or p ≥0.10.

Not poor – Income  200% of the federal poverty level or greater.

Patient Perception of Need – The perceived difficulties or delays in obtaining care and problems getting care as soon as wanted. Although patients may not always be able to assess their need for care, problems getting care when patients perceive that they are ill or injured likely reflect significant barriers to care.

Patient Safety Priority Area – Patient Safety means making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care. Measures of patient safety include measures related to healthcare associated infections, adverse drug events, and birth-related complications.

Person-Centered Care Priority Area – Ensuring that each person and family is engaged as partners in their care. Person-centered care means defining success not just by the resolution of clinical symptoms but also by whether patients achieve their desired outcomes. Some examples of person-centered care include ensuring that patients’ preferences, desired outcomes, and experiences of care are integrated into care delivery; integrating patient-generated data in electronic health records; and finding additional ways to involve patients and families in managing their care effectively.

Poor – Income less than 100% of FPL.

Readmission – Any unanticipated hospitalization that occurs following a previous hospital stay. Typically, readmissions are measured 7, 14, 15 or 30 days after discharge from the initial visit.

Reference Group – The largest subgroup or the subgroup that often received the best healthcare is used as the reference group.

Same quality – The priority population and reference group estimates differ by less than 10% or p ≥0.05.

Small metro – Counties in MSAs of less than 250,000 population.

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) – The conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life risks and outcomes.

Transition of care – The movement of a patient from one setting of care to another. Settings of care may include hospitals, ambulatory primary care practices, ambulatory specialty care practices, long-term care facilities, home health, and rehabilitation facilities.

Usual source of care – The particular medical professional, doctor’s office, clinic, health center, or other place where a person would usually go if sick or in need of advice about his or her health.

White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Worse quality – The priority population estimate less favorable than reference group estimate by at least 10% and with p<0.05.

Worsening trends – An average annual percentage change of 1% or greater in the undesirable direction, and p <0.10.