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CPHQ Exam Content Outline: 2015 vs 2016 vs 2017

The 2016 CPHQ Exam Content Outline is identical to the 2015 one.

The 2016 CPHQ Exam Content Outline is identical to the 2015 one. The 2017 outline is expected to be announced only in January 2017.

“Do your practice questions follow the 2017 CPHQ exam content outline?

Does CPHQ Tutor have up-to-date information, test questions, and prep material for the 2016 CPHQ exam content outline?”

“Is the content of CPHQ Tutor updated for 2017?”

We get a question such as the ones above once in a while. CPHQ candidates understandably want to be sure they are preparing for the current exam content outline, also sometimes known as the CPHQ exam specifications. After all, how would practice exam questions irrelevant to the current outline help? (They wouldn’t.)

The short answer to any question identical or similar to the ones at the start of this article is that the material, including the practice questions, on the CPHQ Tutor website and that used during our live training programs, is updated to reflect the most current CPHQ exam content outline. Period. We explain why and how below.

How Frequently Is the CPHQ Exam Content Outline Updated?

The CPHQ content outline is revised, i.e. updated, about every two years. The last revision occurred in mid-2014, but was effective only from January 1, 2015. Hence, the reference to this date in the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ)/Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC) materials, e.g. the 2016 CPHQ Exam Content Outline [93 kB, accessed November 14, 2016] and the NAHQ website [accessed November 14, 2016].

The next revision (or “update”) of the CPHQ exam content outline is expected in early 2017, i.e. approximately 2 years after the last. Although we have heard some information about the revised content outline, no official announcement has yet been made. Based on our experience with the NAHQ/HQCC (spanning over a decade), we expect them to announce the 2017 exam content outline only sometime in January 2017.

We know the HQCC is actively developing and testing new questions. In fact, I participated in the biennial NAHQ’s 2016 CPHQ Practice Analysis Survey only in July. We look forward to contributing further in the development of questions for the pool to be used from 2017.

Are the 2016 and 2015 CPHQ Exam Content Outlines the Same?

Since the last revision of the exam content outline was in January 2015 and updates occur only every 2 years, you might be wondering if the 2016 (current as at the time of writing) CPHQ exam content outline is the same as the 2015 one. In a word: Yes.

And in case you are skeptical, I invite you to compare and contrast the CPHQ exam content outline used on our CPHQ Tutor membership site since January 2015, with that available from the NAHQ website. Apart from the formatting issue on the HQCC’s list—see Pages 24 and 25 of the 2016 CPHQ Candidate Examination Handbook—I can’t find any difference in the 2 outlines.

By now, you’ve probably worked out that the exam content outline does not change every calendar year. We are aware of at least one (unfortunately, quite prominent) CPHQ exam prep service provider who makes it appear the outline is refreshed annually, which coincidentally is the same frequency in which they “update” their product. In contrast, we develop new practice/study questions and improve existing questions in our database continuously, i.e. all year round, to address the various tasks on the latest CPHQ exam content outline, irrespective of which part of the revision cycle we’re at.

Another fallacy is that independent CPHQ exam prep providers know the coming exam content outline ahead of candidates, e.g. the 2017 outline before the end of 2016. The truth is none of us really knows the tasks on the coming exam content outline until it is announced by the NAHQ/HQCC, though there are hints dropped every now and then. For the 2017 exam content outline, we anticipate the announcement to be in January 2017, consistent will previous announcements of this nature.


The CPHQ exam content outline in 2016 is identical to that in 2015. Since January 2015, the content of the CPHQ Tutor website, including our practice questions, has followed the 2015/2016 CPHQ exam content outline and is therefore up-to-date, i.e. current.

  • 2016 CPHQ Exam Content Outline = 2015 CPHQ Exam Content Outline (no difference)
  • 2017 CPHQ Exam Content Outline = To be announced in 2017 (but you can be sure we will be the first to update our content, way before anyone else purporting to help people prepare for the exam)

In addition, yours truly continues to be an active and busy healthcare quality professional (some may say too busy, but I love challenging engagements!) and continues to contribute to the development of new questions on the actual CPHQ examination.

Finally, our highly-acclaimed CPHQ live training programs and CPHQ Tutor, as a the leading online resource for anyone preparing for the CPHQ exam, will always have content that is aligned with the most current version of the CPHQ exam content outline.

Update on April 23, 2017: The current CPHQ exam content outline, available from the NAHQ website, indicates it remains unchanged. See the screenshot of the relevant page (accessed April 23, 2017) by clicking the image below.

CPHQ Exam Content Outline as at April 23, 2017. Click the image to view the entire screenshot.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • hasan February 17, 2017, 5:43 pm

    with best regards
    good site

  • Sohail Malik March 25, 2017, 5:56 pm

    Would you be kind to let me know for any announced update (CPHQ Exam Content for 2017.).

    • Andy Teh March 26, 2017, 6:23 am

      @Sohail Malik—As at March 26, 2017 @ 02:13 hrs GMT, the current CPHQ exam content outline is the same as that published in January 2015. In other words, it hasn’t been revised yet in 2017, though we expected the change to have occurred by late January. Click on the following link for the 2017 CPHQ exam content outline (accessed March 26, 2017 @ 02:13 hrs GMT), which is effective today. We’ll know of any revision in the CPHQ exam content outline at the same time as everybody else, i.e. when the NAHQ/HQCC makes the announcement. At that time, we’ll update our materials to reflect the changes. I suggest you check back on this page for updates on the CPHQ exam content outline.

  • Unsa Ahmed June 7, 2017, 9:24 am

    I want to give the exam but before exam I want to go for refreshment preparation.
    please guide me to do in a better way.


    Unsa Ahmed

    • Andy Teh June 8, 2017, 3:53 pm

      @Unsa Ahmed—Our CPHQ exam preparation workshops scheduled for 2017 have sold out (and their waiting lists are quite long!). Our workshops are usually announced around October, or sometimes November, for the following year. These events sell out fast, so I suggest those interested look out for the announcement and reserve their place as soon as possible.

  • VIOLET MAKOKHA July 26, 2017, 10:14 pm

    I would like to sit for exam in December,i am in Kenya how do i go about it

    • Andy Teh July 27, 2017, 11:37 am

      @VIOLET MAKOKHA—As I see it, your question has two parts: a) How to apply for the CPHQ exam; and b) How to prepare for the exam so that you achieve a passing score. For information on how to apply for the CPHQ exam, I suggest you read the CPHQ Candidate Examination Handbook for International (Non-US) Candidates. The second part of your question is a bit trickier to answer. You may like to read our article “What Is the Best Way for Me to Pass the CPHQ Exam?”. The CPHQ exam entails quite an investment in resources, especially time and money. For this reason, I think most candidates ought to figure out how they are going to prepare for and pass the CPHQ exam first, i.e. assess their current ability to pass the exam if they sat it today, identify their gaps in knowledge and skills relative to the tasks on CPHQ exam content outline, formulate a realistic game plan to close those gaps, reassess their likelihood of attaining a satisfactory score on the exam, etc. When they are ready, or nearly ready, to take the exam, they can apply. This approach is conservative, but it avoids the common problem of discovering knowledge gaps late in the candidate’s preparation, not having sufficient time to remedy those issues, and entering the testing room less than fully prepared!

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