NAHQ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

NAHQ Code of Ethics

Healthcare quality professionals are defined by a standard of conduct deep-rooted in commitment, confidentiality, and relationships. Committed to performance improvement and maintaining integrity, the healthcare quality professional recognizes personal accountability and moral obligation to all customers served—clients, employees, employers, members of the healthcare team, physicians, organizations, and the public.

Healthcare quality professionals promote the dignity of the profession and are committed to practicing with honesty, integrity, and accountability, respecting all laws and refusing to participate in or conceal any unethical, false, fraudulent, or deceptive activity. Healthcare quality professionals' primary commitment is to the health, well-being, and safety of patients. They must take appropriate actions which are consistent with organization policy regarding any instances of incompetent, unethical, illegal, or impaired practice.

What They Do

Healthcare quality professionals

  • practice the profession with honesty, integrity, and accountability
  • maintain the level of competency as outlined in the Standards of Practice for Healthcare Quality Professionals
  • seek the trust and confidence of all customers
  • support the Standards of Practice for Healthcare Quality Professionals
  • promote the right of privacy for all individuals and protect the maintenance of confidential information to the fullest extent permitted by law
  • promote cultural change that encourages the reporting of events that may result in actual or potential harm to patients or others
  • use expertise to inform employers or clients of possible positive and negative outcomes of management decisions in an effort to facilitate informed decision making
  • give credit for the work of others to whom it is due
  • aid the professional development and advancement of colleagues
  • use the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) designation only after passing the written examination, adhere to standards established by the Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC), and continuing to maintain those standards through the recertification process
  • maintain membership in professional organizations as a means of promoting quality and professional growth and avoid the use of such membership for the sole purpose of solicitation of business or for personal financial gain.

Standards of Practice

Fundamental to Practice

The healthcare quality professional

  • maintains active personal and professional development programs in the field of healthcare quality and exhibits a broad range of knowledge
  • creates and supports an environment that fosters teamwork, emphasizes quality, recognizes the customer, and promotes learning
  • maintains a commitment to the improvement of the professional through participation in, and active support of, the local, state, and national professional organizations
  • addresses concerns and takes formal actions to resolve or report the unethical or questionable practices to the appropriate channels
  • adheres to the Code of Ethics for Healthcare Quality Professionals.

Customer Focus and Satisfaction

The healthcare quality professional

  • supports customer satisfaction as a primary goal for the organization's quality activities
  • standardizes the approach for determining customer expectations
  • serves as a customer advocate in resolution of concerns and initiation of performance improvement activities.


The healthcare quality professional

  • pursues certification through a formal program that enhances professional competencies and recognizes leadership in healthcare
  • provides for performance and quality management training and education for organization leaders
  • establishes specific quality-related goals for management to measure the organization's processes and outcomes
  • demonstrates management skills in the administration of programs that focus on improved outcomes of patient care or healthcare delivery systems.

Information and Analysis

The healthcare quality professional

  • exhibits skill in health information fundamentals, including application of basic statistical processes, data analysis and reporting, and computer use
  • possesses excellent written and verbal communication skills, applicable in both individual and organizational development
  • supports access to medical information by appropriate health providers, researchers, and public health agencies, balanced with appropriate consumer protections.

Strategic Quality Planning

The healthcare quality professional

  • provides leadership and consultative services to departments and services within the organization in achieving regulatory, accreditation, and organizational compliance in quality and in performance management and improvement activities
  • seeks management involvement in the development of a planning approach that supports healthcare quality and patient safety
  • establishes quality as the guiding principle when exploring organizational efforts to control healthcare costs.

Human Resource Development and Management

The healthcare quality professional

  • supports programs developed to recognize achievements related to healthcare quality
  • exhibits a commitment to the Code of Ethics for Healthcare Quality Professionals
  • ensures staff involvement in all healthcare quality team efforts
  • mentors others in the principles of healthcare quality.

Management of Process Quality

The healthcare quality professional

  • ensures that customer expectations guide the development and continuous improvement of processes, products, and services
  • acts as an agent of change and is effective in the change process, including the identification of opportunities to improve, the resolution of problems, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of change
  • integrates training, recognition, team approach, and customer satisfaction to create a standard approach to the continuous improvement of organizational process.

Quality and Operational Results

The healthcare quality professional

  • promotes quality efforts as a proactive—not reactive—undertaking
  • ensures that personnel have the appropriate and necessary skills and tools to evaluate problems and achieve improvements
  • seeks to identify root causes of problems rather than focus on individual members or events.

Note: This list is intended to serve as a guideline for the professional components of this discipline. It is not intended as a job description.

Approved by the NAHQ Board of Directors, 2011

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