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HQMF - Health Quality Measure Format

Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF) is a standards-based representation of quality measures as electronic documents written in XML. It is developed by Health Level Seven International (HL7), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development organization. HQMF defines the information necessary to compute a quality measure and result value. Since 2019, HQMF is used in conjunction with Clinical Quality Language (CQL) as CQL-based HQMF to define eCQMs. CQL defines the measure logic, QDM defines the data model, and HQMF defines measure metadata and population structure.

An HQMF document provides measure details that identify and classify the measure and provide important metadata about the measure. Details include descriptions of the measure populations and any stratifications; the measure steward, type, identifiers, rationale, and scoring; value set identifiers; and references to articles, among other details.

An HQMF document can contain up to four subsections: at least one Population Criteria Section and a single Data Criteria Section are required, while a single Measure Description Section and a single Measure Observations Section are optional.
The Population Criteria Section(s) defines the measure populations (e.g. denominator, numerator, exclusions) and assigns their identifiers.
The Data Criteria section further explains the information used in the logic, including time references and value sets or direct reference codes to explicitly define the data used in the Population Criteria section.  

Find the HQMF standard

The latest version of the CQL-based HQMF standard was published in July 2019 and is available for download. 

Review the Implementation Guides (IG) which define how to implement the HQMF standard using the Quality Data Model (QDM). The QDM-based HQMF IG references QDM 4.3 and the Clinical Quality Language (CQL)-based HQMF IGs references QDM 5.3 and later.

  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: QDM-HQMF, Release 1 – US Realm HL7 Standard for Trial Use (STU) Release 1.4.
    This IG references an earlier version of HQMF, the STU version 2.1 as the base standard for use with QDM-based eCQMs that use the QDM version 4.3. This version of HQMF includes the QDM data model and QDM-based logic expressions. This version is the basis for eCQMs published in May 2017 for the calendar year 2018 reporting/performance period.
  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: CQL-based HQMF, Release 1 – US Realm HL7 STU Release 2.1. This IG references HQMF R1, the normative version published in July 2017. The IG further defines how to implement the standard using QDM 5.3. QDM 5.3 is an updated version of the QDM data model and it contains no logic expression concepts. The IG incorporates CQL as the basis for logic expressions used in the eCQMs. This version is the basis for eCQMs developed with CQL expression language.
  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: CQL-based HQMF, Release 1, STU 3. This IG references HQMF R1, the normative version published in July 2017. The IG further defines how to implement the standard using QDM 5.4. This version is the basis for eCQMs published in May 2018 for the calendar year 2019 reporting/performance period.
  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: CQL-based HQMF, Release 1, STU 4. This IG references HQMF R1, the normative version published in July 2017. The IG further defines how to implement the standard using QDM 5.5. This version is the basis for eCQMs published in May 2019 for the calendar year 2020 reporting/performance period.

Find additional related documents, case studies, and guides on the HL7 website.  

Visit the eCQI Tools & Key Resources Library for a complete list of tools and resources used with eCQMs and eCQI.

Get Involved

There is not a formal HQMF user group at this time, although there are active standards communities where HQMF is discussed and reviewed.

The HL7 Clinical Quality Information Work Group Wiki serves as a collaborative workspace for the development of technology standards in support of measuring and improving health, health care, and health care quality. All users have edit rights to be able to submit edits, add comments, and concerns. Items on the Wiki are a work in progress and subject to change.

Seek Help and Provide Feedback

Post technical questions and comments related to the HQMF normative standard can be posted to the ONC Jira QDM Issue Tracker

Last Updated: Jul 01, 2020