HQMF

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.

HQMF R2.1

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.

Updates to the HQMF specification are underway and will be completed in 2017. This work will update the current HQMF R2.1 to Normative.  

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

HQMF R2.1 is further constrained via two implementation guides:

  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: Quality Data Model (QDM)-Based Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF), Release 1 -US Realm HL7 Draft Standard for Trial Use Release 1.4
  • HL7 Version 3 Implementation Guide: Clinical Quality Language (CQL)-based Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF) Release 1 - US Realm Draft Standard for Trial Use

The QDM-Based HQMF Implementation Guide (IG) describes how to represent electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) using HQMF and QDM data elements and logic. An eCQM definition is encoded in HQMF using terms defined in QDM. Specifically, the QDM-based HQMF IG provides the QDM templates used to create eCQMs.

The current version, QDM-based HQMF DSTU Release 1.4, is implemented in the Measure Authoring Tool to address QDM 4.3 and HL7 HQMF Release 2.1. It is currently in use to express measures for implementation in 2017 and 2018.

The CQL-based HQMF Implementation Guide (IG) describes how to represent electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) using HQMF and CQL logic. CQL-based HQMF is in the testing phase of a transition plan to replace the QDM logic expression currently in use. CQL does not replace the data descriptions in the QDM.

The current version, CQL-based HQMF DSTU Release 1, is based on HL7 HQMF Release 2.1, and is being updated in 2017 to align with HQMF normative.