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Support for people working in health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find information about how you can support yourselves and others, including consumers, teams and colleagues which complements and aligns with Ministry of Health resources.

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The Choosing Wisely campaign seeks to reduce harm from unnecessary and low-value tests and treatment.

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Health Quality & Safety Indicators

Measuring the quality of health care and communicating the results in a variety of ways and settings is a powerful way to stimulate improvement.


Measuring the quality of health care and communicating the results in a variety of ways and settings is a powerful way to stimulate improvement. Over recent decades, there has been a growing focus in developed countries on measuring health care quality through national and local performance reporting. A recent King’s Fund report [1] contained the following quote:

“We can only be sure to improve what we can actually measure.”

Measurement and evaluation is a critical part of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s work, underpinning and forming the basis of four key, connecting work programmes as outlined below.

  • Atlas of Healthcare Variation – The Atlas concentrates on individual conditions and clinical groups, highlighting variation in order to stimulate discussion about differences in practice and the improvement actions required to reduce variation where it is unwarranted.
  • Quality and Safety Markers – These markers are a mix of process and outcome measures focused on driving improvement for four key safety priorities: falls, healthcare associated infections, surgical harm and medication safety. The markers do this through setting expected levels of improvement, public reporting of progress against these thresholds and supporting links to accountability mechanisms.
  • Quality Accounts – Quality Accounts require health care providers to give an account for the quality of their services in a similar way to financial accounts. Quality Accounts are being adopted in New Zealand; while responsibility for their delivery sits with health care providers, the Commission is providing support and guidance about content and style.
  • Health Quality and Safety Indicators – This relatively small set of summary indicators is organised to cover an internationally recognised range of aspects of quality – safety, patient experience, effectiveness, access/timeliness, efficiency and equity. The data is presented for the country as a whole and shows changes over time.
  • Prevention quality indicators - The prevention quality indicators are a set of measures which, when combined with hospital in-patient discharge data, reveal meaningful information about the quality of care for ambulatory sensitive conditions.

Our goal

The overarching goal for the indicators project was to develop a set of national health quality and patient safety indicators that support improvement of health services in New Zealand, as articulated in the NZ Triple Aim Framework [2]:

  • improved quality, safety and experience of care
  • improved health and equity for all populations
  • best value from public health system resources.

The primary objective for the project was to develop, implement and publish the indicators by December 2012.

View the indicators

You can view the indicators in a variety of formats. Our preferred format is the Prezi. This software allows us to present the lead indicator with a range of commentary and other data that allow, for example, international comparisons and time trends to be grouped easily.  The PDF report operates as a high-level summary. There is also an Excel spreadsheet which contains all underpinning data, identifies sources and includes links to technical specifications.

[1] Raleigh SV, Foot, C. 2010. Getting the measure of quality: Opportunities and challenges. London: The Kings Fund.

[2] The NZ Triple Aim Framework has been adopted by the Commission and other health agencies.

Published: 2 Dec 2021 Modified: 12 Oct 2022