The OECD Health Care Quality Indicator (HCQI) Project was started in 2001. The objective of the HCQI Project is to develop a set of indicators that are based comparable data and which can be used to raise questions for further investigation on quality differences across countries. The HCQI Project will eventually represent the largest effort, in terms of number of quality indicators and number of countries, to assess international health care quality that has ever been undertaken. The HCQI project has built on two pre-existing international collaborations organised by the Commonwealth Fund of New York (five countries) and the Nordic Minister Council Working Group on Quality Measurement (six countries). It now involves 23 countries. Over the long term, it is hoped that the development of comparable indicators for international comparisons will allow for benchmarking and learning between countries on quality and safety.
In the first phase of the Project, pilot work was carried out on an initial set of 17 indicators to explore the technical issues associated with reporting health care quality internationally. As a result 13 indicators were recommended for their inclusion in the initial HCQI set. The 4 indicators remaining, though not retained due to comparability concerns related to data availability, were not totally discarded (given their scientific soundness and relevance) but seen as deserving reconsideration if further improvements in data gathering allow for it.