QDM - Quality Data Model

The Quality Data Model (QDM) is an information model that defines relationships between patients and clinical concepts in a standardized format to enable electronic quality performance measurement. The model is the current structure for electronically representing quality measure concepts for stakeholders involved in electronic quality measurement development and reporting. The QDM is currently being aligned with clinical decision support (CDS) standards. To ensure broad stakeholder collaboration in QDM development, maintenance, and harmonization with quality and CDS standards to support the Electronic Clinical Quality Improvement (eCQI) landscape, the QDM User Group was established. Participants of this open stakeholder group use their expertise to recommend changes to the QDM based on: 1) measurement needs, 2) real-world feasibility, and 3) harmonization with Health Level 7 eCQM and CDS standards. To get involved or provide feedback, refer to the Connect tab on this page.

Electronic Health Record systems can use QDM to more consistently request, store, and convey clinical information.

Find the current QDM

The QDM v5.3 Annotated is currently in use when creating eCQMs using Clinical Quality Language (CQL) for 2019 reporting.

The QDM v5.4 specification features and modifications will be implemented in the production version of the Measure Authoring Tool released in Fall 2018 (version 5.6). Measures produced using QDM v.5.4 are anticipated for implementation in calendar year 2020. Note that this version of QDM v5.4, published August 2018, addresses several errata and replaces the June 2018 publication.


The QDM provides the language that defines the criteria for clinical quality measurement. It allows the electronic definition of a clinical concept via its data elements and provides the vocabulary to relate them to each other. By relating attributes between data elements and using filtering functions, the QDM provides a method to construct complex clinical representations for electronic clinical quality measures. The QDM provides the foundation for the conceptualization and specification phases in the eCQM Measure Lifecycle.

Slice 1Created with Sketch. Data type Category Value Set Attribute Code System Codes Laboratory Test, Performed Laboratory Test High Density Lipoprotein result < 40mg/dL LOINC 14646-4 18263-4 2085-9

Category - A single clinical concept that is the highest level of definition for a QDM element e.g., Medication, Procedure, Condition/Diagnosis/Problem, Communication, Encounter. The QDM currently contains 19 categories.

Data Type - Provides context within a category e.g., in a ‘Medication’ category, ‘Medication, Active” and ‘Medication, Administered’ are particular data types.

Attribute - Provides specific detail within a data type. There are two types of attributes, data type specific attributes and data flow attributes.

  • Data type specific attributes - Provides specific detail on a data type e.g., Medication, Dispensed and Medication, Ordered contains information about dosage, route, strength, and duration of a medication, while a Medication allergy, contains information about the allergy type, allergy severity, etc.
  • Data flow attributes - Provides specific detail about the location of data represented by a QDM element e.g., Health Record Field indicates the location within an electronic record where the data should be found, Source indicates the originator of the quality data element (an individual or a device), and a Recorder, the individual or device that enters the data element into a health record field.

Connections between Standards 

Healthcare organizations receive the measure specifications, expressed in HQMF using QDM and CQL and then report results to CMS using QRDA. 

Get Involved

The QDM User Group is a group of volunteer members who use the QDM for measure development, measure implementation, alignment with related standards and more.

View the QDM User Group Charter and past QDM User Group Minutes for more information about the group.

Send an email to qdm@esacinc.com if you are interested in participating in the QDM User Group.

Seek Help and Provide Feedback

Post technical questions and comments related to the development and implementation of QDM to the ONC JIRA QDM Issue Tracker. 

Last Updated: August 24, 2018