NQF approves more safety measures to reduce preventable harm

The National Quality Forum (NQF) on Monday endorsed 12 patient safety-related measures on nurse staffing levels and preventing healthcare-associated infections, the nonprofit organization announced.

The measures also address patient falls and pressure ulcers, two high-cost and high-volume adverse events. Patient falls among the elderly will cost more than $30 billion by 2020, according to the NQF.

"Protecting patients from harm is at the heart of NQF's work to improve healthcare quality," Helen Burstin, NQF's senior vice president for performance measures, said in a statement. "These endorsed measures will have a significant impact on national patient safety efforts by helping providers measure, report on, and ultimately improve the care they deliver," she said.

The NQF reviewed 21 measures and endorsed 10 of them, plus two new measures, for at least three years, with ongoing evaluation and updating.

This new measure set joins a growing list of endorsed patient safety measures. The NQF in August endorsed 12 care coordination measures, including patient medication reconciliation, advanced care planning and the timely availability of medical records, and 22 quality measures on cancer care. Before that, in June, the nonprofit organization endorsed 14 patient safety measures focused on reducing complications, such as medication errors, wrong-site surgery and patient burns.

This week, the nonprofit organization also named its new president and CEO, Christine K. Cassel, who will take the helm mid-summer 2013.

"At this critical juncture where improved quality is the linchpin to achieving healthcare of the highest value, we believe Dr. Cassel is uniquely qualified to carry NQF's mission forward," William Roper, CEO of UNC Health Care System and chair of the NQF board of directors, said in another statement.

For more:
- read the safety measures announcement
- here's the new CEO announcement