In January 1996, the California Medical Association launched a new not-for-profit subsidiary, the Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ), to help improve the quality of care delivered to patients in California. From the beginning, IMQ was designed to be different from other health-care-quality organizations in that it would make providing quality care easier and eliminate, rather than create, barriers to doing so. What makes IMQ special is its heavy emphasis on education, counseling, and direct involvement of practicing physicians. Some, but not all, IMQ programs involve surveys of facilities and medical practices. Each program is carefully developed and continuously updated by physicians whose practices are similar to those they are evaluating or advising. They make every effort to keep materials relevant, current, and meaningful, and to discard components that may be outdated or unnecessarily burdensome. IMQ is a 501(c)3 corporation.

The Institute for Medical Quality’s (IMQ) mission is to be an innovative leader in improving the quality of care provided to patients across the continuum of health care by encouraging, developing and implementing programs which effectively measure and improve the quality of care provided to people in California and beyond.?In support of its mission, IMQ will conduct educational programs and will evaluate health care delivery. It will be responsive to diverse constituencies, and its outcomes will be patient-oriented and population-based.

The Institute for Medical Quality will be a nationally recognized authority for evaluating and improving health care quality.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities and their business associates to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information.