Studying for the Certification Exam

The CPHQ® content outline lists the tasks that form the basis for the CPHQ® credential.

Content Outline
The content outline provides a blueprint for studying for the CPHQ® exam.  Topics cover the following areas:

Organizational Leadership

  • Structure and Integration
  • Regulatory, Accreditation, and External Recognition
  • Education, Training, and Communication

Health Data Analytics

  • Design and Data Management
  • Measurement and Analysis

Performance and Process Improvement

  • Identifying Opportunities for Improvement
  • Implementation and Evaluation

Patient Safety

  • Assessment and Planning
  • Implementation and Evaluation

HQCC recommends reviewing the content outline to begin studying for the exam.  Every question on the test is related to a one of the task statements on the content outline.  According to the content outline, 23% of the questions on the test are recall questions, requiring you to remember information.  Approximately 57% of the questions on the test are application, with the remaining 20% of test questions requiring analysis.  For the 23% of recall questions, you need to select the correct answer.  You can see that most of the test questions (77%) require application or analysis, which means that you will need to apply information to situations and determine which of the four options would provide the best answer for each question.  This means that there could be more than one correct answer, and you have to select the best one.


Study Materials
HQCC offers study materials, including a practice exam, review courses, and other resources which are available on the website.


Free Practice Exam
NAHQ has a free practice exam with 35 free questions available at the following link:



These are some resources that HQCC recommends:

  1. HQ Solutions: Resource for the Healthcare Quality Professional (4th ed.) Luc R. Pelletier & Christy L Beaudin, Eds. (2018)
  2. Q Solutions: Essential Resources for the Healthcare Quality Professional. 3rd edition. (2012)
  3. CPHQ Practice Exam. This self-assessment can help identify areas of strength of improvement for the CPHQ examination.
  4. CPHQ Review Course Online. The presentation was recorded at a live CPHQ Review Course and contains four modules that follow the content outline, including two to three practice questions with answers to help you prepare.
  5. Journal of Healthcare Quality CEU activities.
  6. The Janet A. Brown Healthcare Quality Handbook: A Professional Resource and Study Guide 30th Edition, Brown, Janet A. and Mellott, Susan (2018) 7. Essentials of Managed Health Care (6th ed, 2013) , edited by Peter R. Kongstvedt.
  7. The Healthcare Data Guide.  Lloyd P. Provost and Sandra K. Murray (2011), San Francisco:  Jossey Bass.
  8. Facilitating with Ease -Ingrid Bens (2018)
  9. Preventing Medication Errors, Institute of Medicine. (2007).
  10. Understanding Patient Safety, Robert Wachter. (2017).
  11. Storytelling with Data Cole N. Knaflic (2015)
  12. The Quality Toolbox, Nancy Tague. (2010).
  13. Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook, Michael George, David Rowlans, Mark Price, & John Maxey. (2005).
  14. The Memory Jogger™ 2, 2nd edition. Michael Brassard, (2010).
  15. The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, Strategy, and Tools (3rd ed.) Maulik S Joshi, and Elizabeth R. Ransom (2014) ISBN-13: 978-1567935905; Publisher Health Administration Press.
  16. Quality Chasm Series: Patient Safety—Achieving a New Standard for Care, Institute of Medicine. (2004).
  17. The Team Handbook, 3rd edition, Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, & Barbara Streibel. (2004).
  18. The Lean Enterprises Memory Jogger, Richard L. Macinnes & Carolann Scherer (2011).
  19. Creating a Lean Culture.  David Mann (2010).
  20. Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals. Jay Arthur (2011).
  21. Breakthrough Improvement. Jay Arthur (2014).
  22. Lean Done Right. Thomas G. Zidel (2012).
  23. The Checklist Manifesto.  Atul Gawande (2009).
  24. Healthcare Kaizen.  Mark Graban & Joseph E. Swartz (2012).
  25. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:
  26. Institute for Healthcare Improvement:
  27. Institute for Safe Medication Practices: