Glossary Term

Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI)

Glossary Term:

Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI)


These are activities designed to improve the quality of a process or assess its overall function. Such activities do not satisfy the definition of “research” under 45 CFR 46.102(d), which is “…a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge…” Therefore the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects do not apply to such quality improvement activities, and there is no requirement under these regulations for such activities to undergo review by an IRB, or for these activities to be conducted with provider or patient informed consent.

The clinical, practical, or administrative uses for such performance measurements and reporting could include, for example, helping the public make more informed choices regarding health care providers by communicating data regarding physician-specific surgical recovery data or infection rates. Other practical or administrative uses of such data might be to enable insurance companies or health maintenance organizations to make higher performing sites preferred providers, or to allow other third parties to create incentives rewarding better performance.