Health care quality falls far short of its potential nationally. Because care is delivered locally, improvement strategies should be tailored to community needs. This analysis from the Community Quality Index (CQI) study reports on a comprehensive examination of how effectively care is delivered in twelve metropolitan areas. The authors find room for improvement in quality overall and in dimensions of preventive, acute, and chronic care in all of these communities; no community was consistently best or worst on the various dimensions. Having concrete estimates of the extent of the gap in performance should stimulate community-based quality improvement efforts.
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