The US Department of Health and Human Services revealed its National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care this week, a “first-ever” plan to guide quality improvement measures at local, state and national levels.

In an effort to increase access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans, the Affordable Care Act required the HHS to establish a strategy that sets priorities to guide the effort, as well as a strategic plan to achieve it.

The national strategy is designed help the healthcare system work better for providers by reducing administrative burdens and helping with collaborative efforts. It establishes six priorities for improving care and population health, including:

Making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care.

Ensuring that each person and family are engaged as partners in their care.

Promoting effective communication and coordination of care.

Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.

Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living.

Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new healthcare delivery models.

The National Quality Strategy is just one piece of a broader effort by the Obama Administration to improve the quality of healthcare, and will serve as a tool to better coordinate quality initiatives between public and private partners.