Healthcare professionals desiring to demonstrate expertise in the field of healthcare quality can set themselves apart from the crowd by obtaining the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) certification. CPHQ certification assures healthcare employers and the general public that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to work in the field of healthcare quality. Mometrix has developed the CPHQ study guide to assist you in obtaining the prestigious designation as a certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

The National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1976 with the purpose of advancing the healthcare quality profession through the creation of a certification program. The Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC) is the branch of NAHQ that institutes standards, procedures, and policies in the field of healthcare quality certification. The CPHQ certification exam materials were developed by HQCC and practicing healthcare quality professionals. The CPHQ exam content is evaluated and updated regularly to make sure the exam mirrors current practices. The examination committee has written the test primarily for quality professionals who have been performing CPHQ tasks for at least 2 years. Although there are no specified requirements for testing, the exam is not appropriate for entry-level applicants. Professionals who have achieved a passing grade on the CPHQ examination are eligible to use the designation Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® and the acronym “CPHQ” with their name on business cards, letterheads, and all correspondence. Once certified, the credential is valid for a 2-year period beginning on January 1 of the year following the date the examination was passed. A total of 30 CE hours over the 2-year period is required for recertification.

The CPHQ examination is a computer-based test available at test centers across the United States and internationally. On the day of your exam, you will have the opportunity to take a practice examination to allow you to get comfortable with the testing process before taking the actual CPHQ exam. If you take the suggested practice exam, the time spent on it and the questions do not count toward your actual exam. You will have a total of 3 hours to complete the 140 questions on the CPHQ exam. Only 125 of them are calculated for the final test score. Fifteen of the questions are unidentified pretest questions scattered throughout the exam. The pretest questions allow the test developers to validate questions before using them to measure competency. Once you have completed the exam, you will receive an unofficial score report indicating either a passing or failing score. If a passing score is achieved, official documentation will be sent by mail. If a passing score is not achieved, a candidate may reapply to take the exam 90 days after the initial exam date. The exam can be taken a maximum of three times within a calendar year. If a passing score is not achieved on three attempts within a calendar year, then the candidate must wait a full calendar year from the last attempt to reapply to test again. As you can see, you can save time and money by being adequately prepared before taking the CPHQ exam. The CPHQ study guide by Mometrix will provide you with the preparation you need to obtain a passing score.

CPHQ Study Guide

The CPHQ exam tests not only the candidate’s knowledge but also their ability to use that knowledge to perform certain tasks and to appropriately apply that knowledge. The CPHQ exam includes three types of multiple-choice questions. Recall questions, which test knowledge of specific concepts and facts, comprise 23% of the questions. Application questions, which test the candidate’s ability to interpret and apply information to a given situation, make up 57% of the questions. The analysis questions comprise 20% of the questions and ensure the candidate has the ability necessary to analyze and problem solve as needed in a healthcare setting. A detailed content outline is available on the HQCC website but the content is organized into four areas: Organizational Leadership, Health Data Analytics, Performance and Process Improvement, and Patient Safety.

The CPHQ exam contains 35 questions from the Organizational Leadership content area and is further broken down into three subareas. The Structure and Integration subarea includes topics such as organizational strategic planning, encouraging stakeholder involvement in the promotion of quality and safety, providing staff support in regards to their roles in quality assurance, developing councils and committees, assisting in the evaluation and development of data bases, evaluating and integrating best practices, leading and facilitating change, and communicating to leadership the resources that are needed to improve quality such as staffing, equipment, and technology. The Regulatory, Accreditation, and External Recognition subarea includes questions regarding regulatory and statutory requirements, accreditations, certifications, compliance evaluation, and communication with the accrediting and regulatory bodies. The Education, Training, and Communication subarea involves questions about designing and providing education and training on performance and quality improvement, evaluating the effectiveness of the training, and distributing the quality improvement information throughout the organization.

The CPHQ exam includes 30 questions in the Health Data Analytics content area which is further divided into two subareas. The Design and Data Management subarea includes topics such as selecting goals and thresholds for measurement, developing data collection processes, scorecards, dashboards, benchmarks for comparison, and the collection and validation of the data. The Measurement and Analysis subarea includes using data management systems for analysis and reporting, using statistics to describe and display data, interpreting data, comparing data to benchmarks, and external reporting of the information obtained.

The third content area of the CPHQ exam is Performance and Process Improvement and 40 questions come from this area. This content area includes two subareas. The Identifying Opportunities for Improvement subarea addresses topics such as establishing priorities, facilitating discussions about areas in need of quality improvement, developing and implementing action plans to improve performance, and identifying areas of success. The Implementation and Evaluation subarea evaluates the ability to use quality techniques and tools, establish teams and responsibilities to implement quality processes, monitoring quality improvement projects, evaluating the success of implementation teams, evaluating success of the improvement projects, and documentation of results. The CPHQ exam contains 20 questions in the final content area which is Patient Safety. The Assessment and Planning subarea measures the candidate’s ability to assess the safety culture within an organization, investigate how technology can improve the patient safety program, and the use of risk management assessment activities. The Implementation and Evaluation subarea includes the continual evaluation of safety processes, integration of safety concepts and principles, and the implementation of safety and risk management activities.

CPHQ certification is the only accredited certification in the field of healthcare quality. You will want to do everything you can to adequately prepare for this important examination which will designate you as a distinguished healthcare quality professional. The Mometrix CPHQ study guide and CPHQ practice test covers the same content as the actual CPHQ exam and includes answers and detailed explanations of those answers so that you can clearly understand which questions you missed and why you missed them. The CPHQ study guide and CPHQ practice test by Mometrix is your first step on the road to achieving the title of Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

CPHQ Practice Questions

1. What is the best explanation for the relatively slow introduction of lean practices into medical laboratories?

  1. The variability and complexity of the samples in a laboratory is much higher than in a manufacturing environment
  2. Scientists are less receptive to the core principles of lean
  3. Medical laboratories function differently than factories
  4. Medical research is mostly funded by the government

2. A delay in discharging patients is likely to cause recurrent bottlenecks in...

  1. Admissions from the emergency room
  2. The filling of prescriptions
  3. Admissions from surgical wards
  4. All of the above

3. Which of the following conditions should a quality assessment program NOT examine?

  1. A condition that is thought to be treatable
  2. A condition for which the treatment is susceptible to significant influence by health care providers
  3. A condition that has cost-effective treatments
  4. A rare condition that has a small effect on mortality or morbidity

4. A doctor fails to administer an indicated test, and the patient's condition deteriorates to the point that he must be admitted to an inpatient facility. This is an example of...

  1. Preventive error
  2. Treatment error
  3. Diagnostic error
  4. Communication error

5. When is the best time for chairing during a meeting?

  1. One hour beforehand
  2. At the beginning
  3. In the middle
  4. At the end


1. A: The best explanation for the relatively slow introduction of lean practices into medical laboratories is that the variability and complexity of the samples in the laboratory is much higher than in a manufacturing environment. In laboratories, it is common for a huge number of slightly different samples to be processed. A simple assembly line approach to laboratory processes is rarely successful. However, there are striking analogies between manufacturing and laboratory work, and laboratories can drastically improve efficiency by adopting lean practices. Contrary to the beliefs of some, lean practices do not discourage innovation. Instead, they enable laboratories to handle greater volume and diversity without sacrificing quality.

2. D: A delay in discharging patients is likely to cause recurrent bottlenecks in admissions from the emergency room and surgical wards and in the filling of prescriptions. Indeed, the negative consequences of discharge delays may include the creation of other bottlenecks. It is important to recognize that inefficiencies in one area of service provision can cause inefficiencies in many other areas. A bottleneck occurs when there are not enough resources available to perform all of the functions necessary at a given time. Discharge delays waste time, money, and resources.

3. D: A quality assessment program should not include rare conditions that have a small effect on mortality or morbidity. Such conditions have a limited bearing on the overall success of care. There is a general agreement as to which conditions are appropriate for inclusion in a quality assessment program. A condition should meet five criteria. First, it should either be common or have a significant effect on morbidity or mortality. Second, there should be scientific evidence that there are treatments effective at preventing or mitigating the effects of the condition. Third, it should be established that improvement in the quality of treatment for the condition will improve overall health. Fourth, the condition should have cost-effective interventions. Finally, the interventions for the condition should be susceptible to significant influence by health care providers.

4. C: When a doctor fails to administer an indicated test and the patient has an adverse result, the doctor has committed a diagnostic error. A diagnostic error is committed whenever a condition is misidentified or an indicated test is not performed. A diagnostic error can result in even more errors in the future. A preventive error is a mistaken approach to avoiding a condition, while a treatment error is a mistake related to the resolution of a condition. A communication error may occur between two service providers or between a service provider and a patient.

5. B: The best time for chairing is at the beginning of a meeting. In most cases, the facilitator and the chairperson of the meeting are two different people. The chairperson is responsible for reviewing the minutes from the previous meeting and eliciting feedback from team members. A facilitator may be charged with organizing and moderating discussion, but the introduction to the meeting is typically conducted by the chairperson. In many situations, it is appropriate to rotate the chairing duties.

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Last Updated: 04/18/2018

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