CHORDS - NCCHC Resources


Correctional professionals now have access to a system that promises to transform performance improvement efforts. CHORDS is a data sharing system designed for correctional health care settings.


While measurement underlies health care quality improvement efforts within facilities, it does not enable examination of performance on a large scale in comparison with peers. For that, benchmarking is essential.

Such benchmarking is common in hospitals and health networks but less so in correctional health care, although it could greatly enhance quality and effectiveness of care. This is due, in part, to a lack of robust performance measures tailored to the unique correctional setting, as well as the absence of a way for facilities to share data.

To address this problem, NCCHC established a national performance measurement system called the Correctional Health Outcomes and Resource Data Set. CHORDS was originally developed by experts in correctional health care working in partnership with numerous prisons and jails. It is an innovative, client-driven quality improvement initiative that is providing much-needed data for comparison of clinical processes and outcomes. Proof-of-concept activities provided valuable information and experience that have enabled the project to move to an exciting new phase: CHORDS-QI.

Based on nearly 40 years of gathering correctional health care quality data, CHORDS – Quality Improvement is a collaborative effort that will enable correctional health care systems to participate in structured improvement programs on various topics critical to meeting NCCHC standards and, in the future, disease-specific improvement.

Broadly speaking, CHORDS consists of the following elements:


The benefits from taking part in CHORDS are many. CHORDS provides participants with powerful tools for understanding and managing the health of their inmates. Importantly, having a better handle on performance against national standards is a major step toward managing health care quality. There are numerous ways to study performance data and CHORDS provides a high level of flexibility. As the repository grows and data are analyzed, CHORDS’ ability to support local, regional and national benchmarking will strengthen.

CHORDS uses the collaborative model to improve quality, and a limited number of facilities can participate at one time. If our current projects cannot accommodate additional participants, we will contact you when planning future projects. Please email us with your contact information as well as any specific interests in terms of quality measurement. This will help inform the development of future projects.

Contact us at [email protected].