The nursing minimum data set, standardized language, and health care quality

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Nurs Care Qual

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of nursing care quality

PubMed ID



Providers and consumers of health care have been attempting to define quality for the past several decades. The article describes one of nursing's contributions to the multidisciplinary health care quality revolution: its ability to provide a more complete and holistic picture of the consumer (patients/clients). Nursing's focus on responses to health care problems, not just illness events in isolation, provides insight into causes and effective management strategies for health problems. The Nursing Minimum Data Set (NMDS) documents patient/client responses, interventions, patient-sensitive outcomes, and resource consumption. By implementing the NMDS, nursing collaborates with other health care professionals to identify the needs of patient populations as well as the needs of individual patients. The article examines the relationship of the NMDS to other health care databases used in quality measurement, describes the integral role of standardized language in implementing the NMDS, provides examples of NMDS data analyses to address specific aspects of quality measurement, and outlines a methodology for using nonstandardized data.


Humans, Information Systems/standards, Nursing Care/classification, Quality of Health Care/standards, Vocabulary, Controlled

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of nursing care quality, 10:1 (1995) pp.16-30.

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