NAHQ’s New Research Reveals Missing Component to Advancing Healthcare Quality, Safety, and System Sustainability

Groundbreaking research focused on advancing critical healthcare priorities through expanded competencies for quality and safety workforce development.

CHICAGO (Oct. 4, 2022) – The National Association for Healthcare Quality® (NAHQ) this week released groundbreaking research on the advancement of the quality and safety agenda in a new workforce report titled “Healthcare Quality and Safety Workforce Report, New Imperatives for Quality and Safety Mean New Imperatives for Workforce Development.” The research sought to answer the question: “Is today’s healthcare workforce doing the work that will advance clinical priorities of quality, safety, equity, value, and system sustainability?” Findings indicate the answer is no.

“NAHQ has taken ownership of the important issue of workforce readiness for quality and safety,” said Stephanie Mercado, CAE, CPHQ, NAHQ’s chief executive officer. “In healthcare, the workforce is the biggest lever we have to affect change. NAHQ’s mission is to prepare a coordinated, competent healthcare quality workforce while ensuring that the people working in quality are recognized and valued. This report brings net-new knowledge to the field that we believe will make healthcare better.”

This new report is based on a survey of 2,523 individuals who completed NAHQ’s Professional Assessment prior to July 15, 2022. Respondents included healthcare quality professionals and other individuals within healthcare organizations who have responsibility for quality and safety and represent varying job titles and job levels.

For these healthcare quality professionals and the organizations they serve, NAHQ created the twice-validated, industry standard Healthcare Quality Competency Framework that organizes healthcare quality into eight domains, comprised of 29 competency statements and 486 skill statements.

“NAHQ commissioned the research for this new workforce report because the competencies for quality and safety have been misunderstood and neglected for too long,” Mercado added. “The report calls on employers, regulators, and rating and accreditation organizations to better support and leverage the quality and safety workforce. This includes an urgent need to widen the lens on what competencies are required to fully address system needs today and into the future.”

Key takeaways from the NAHQ Healthcare Quality and Safety Workforce Report:

  • The healthcare industry’s traditional view of quality has been too narrow – focused primarily on regulation, compliance, accreditation, and improvement.
  • The healthcare workforce must expand the level and type of work being done in quality and safety to ensure they are ready to meet the challenges facing all healthcare stakeholders.
  • The research underscored that the eight domains of the NAHQ Healthcare Quality Competency Framework represent the full spectrum of competencies that must be present in a high functioning quality organization. These competencies are the key to leveraging healthcare’s goals of both today and tomorrow. Organizations missing any one component will likely experience gaps in other components of the quality domains.
  • Research shows that the workforce is more focused on three quality domains and that a stronger focus across all eight quality domains is needed now.
  • Survey responses captured in the report confirm that work being completed in quality and safety emphasizes quality leadership and integration, regulatory and accreditation, and patient safety.
  • The analysis shows that there is too little focus on the domains of population health and care transitions, performance and process improvement, health data analytics, professional engagement, and quality review and accountability.

NAHQ’s “Healthcare Quality and Safety Workforce Report, New Imperatives for Quality and Safety Mean New Imperatives for Workforce Development” may be accessed online with other NAHQ Intelligence assets at Insights – NAHQ.

About NAHQ

The National Association for Healthcare Quality® (NAHQ) is the only organization dedicated to healthcare quality professionals, defining the standard of excellence for the profession, and equipping professionals and organizations across the continuum of healthcare to meet these standards. NAHQ believes that to reduce variability in healthcare delivery, we must first reduce variability in healthcare quality competencies, so we focus our efforts on healthcare quality competencies and workforce development. NAHQ published the first and only Healthcare Quality Competency Framework and validated it twice in the market. We offer the only accredited certification in healthcare quality, the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ), extensive educational programming, networking opportunities, and career resources to help healthcare quality professionals enhance their competencies and their value. Learn more at


Media Contact

Bethany Macon, G&S for NAHQ


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