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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. 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. Metadata defined in the HQMF document header include descriptions of the measure populations, any stratifications, the measure steward, measure type, identifiers, rationale, scoring, references to articles, definitions of value sets and/or direct reference codes referenced in the CQL, and other details.

An HQMF document body contains a Population Criteria section and a Data Criteria section. The Population Criteria section defines the measure populations (e.g., denominator, numerator, exclusions, measure observation) and assigns their identifiers. The Data Criteria section defines the patient data of interest in the measure as a set of entries. Each entry identifies specific types of data along with constraints that the data must meet.

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

  • 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. 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 Health Level Seven International® (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 Health Level Seven International® (HL7) Clinical Quality Information Work Group Confluence page 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 Confluence 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 to the ONC Jira QDM Issue Tracker.

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2021