Quality improvement mechanisms increasingly use outcome measures to evaluate health care providers. This move toward outcome measures is a radical departure from the traditional focus on process measures. More radical still is the proposal to shift from relatively simple and proximal measures of outcome, such as mortality, to complex outcomes, such as quality of life. While the practical, scientific, and ethical issues associated with the use of outcomes such as mortality and morbidity to compare health care providers have been well rehearsed, the specific concerns associated with the use of quality of life measures in quality of care research have received little attention. As with much research on quality of life there is a tendency to assume that the disadvantages are outweighed by the general virtue of "listening" to patients. In this paper we disagree with this assumption and argue that quality of life is a process, not an outcome.