3 ways leaders can shape healthcare quality measures

Amid heated nationwide debate about the most appropriate way to measure healthcare quality, two leading quality experts write in commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that there are several steps leaders can take to help develop more timely, accurate and meaningful quality measures. 

These measures are necessary to truly implement value-based care, write National Quality Forum (NQF) President and CEO Christine Cassel, M.D., and Richard Kronick, Ph.D., the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The commentary highlights the findings of a recent meeting of two dozen leaders in healthcare quality and improvement, who met to discuss the successes and failures of current measures and how to proceed in the future.

They identified the following strategies:

  • Align and prioritize the most meaningful measures: This is vital to ensure that measurement-related efforts improve outcomes while reducing unnecessary data collection and reporting. 
  • Emphasize intrinsic as well as extrinsic incentives: The government wants to speed the transition to value-based care by tying it to payments, but the authors write that policy-makers must also encourage physicians and providers to use evidence-based practices by providing real-time, comprehensive data.
  • Ensure that measures are meaningful to patients and clinicians: To make sure organizations use only the most salient measures, collaborate with the people who will actually use them, such as patients, frontline workers and purchasers.

"As attention rightly turns to reducing waste and improving the value of dollars spent by consumers, purchasers and taxpayers, measurement science must keep pace," write Cassel and Kronick. "However, the real goal of measurement is improvement. Public and private organizations in partnership can best deliver on this goal."

To learn more:
- read the commentary (subscription required)