What is Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF)?

Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF) is a standards-based representation of quality measures as electronic documents. It is developed by Health Level Seven International (HL7) and defines the information necessary to compute a quality measure and result value. The most recent version of HQMF, Release 2.1 (R2.1), provides a simplified structure and clearer execution model over previous HQMF releases. It is currently a draft standard for trial use (DSTU) and is subject to change based on comments and feedback from the electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) community.

High-level Structure

An HQMF document is written in Extensible Markup Language (XML) and contains three main sections: Measure Details, Population Criteria, and Data Criteria.

  1. The Measure Details section defines the type and description of the quality measure that is encoded.
  2. The Population Criteria section defines the attributes that describe the patient populations that are being tested by the quality measure.
  3. The Data Criteria section defines the data attributes, time references and value set codes that are used to describe the specific values or sets of values that are required by the patient populations being tested by the quality measure.


The HQMF R2.1 specification defines these sections in ways that are easier for health IT systems to parse and execute. These improvements provide the capability for more efficient automated processing of HQMF-encoded eCQMs.

You may read more about HQMF R2.1 in the HQMF R2.1 Reader’s Guide.