NQF approves resource use, cost measures

The National Quality Forum (NQF) on Monday added to its list an additional four measures that focus on patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip/knee replacement and pneumonia.

With the goal of measuring how efficiently providers and payers perform, NQF in 2009 sought to identify and evaluate resource use measures, that is, comparable measures of actual dollars or standardized units of resources regarding the care of a specific population or event.

The standards-setting organization in January had endorsed resource use measures for diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, population-based per member per month index, as well as total cost per population-based per member per month index.

The four new measures were added to the list of voluntary standards to "offer a more complete picture of what is driving healthcare costs," the resource use brief states. While it noted there are diverse perspectives on costs and resource use, NQF said it acknowledged the submitted measures are only a narrow perspective in curbing healthcare expenditures, helping stakeholders identify opportunities to cut costs and improve quality.

"Healthcare spending in the United States continues to rise without any significant gains in patient satisfaction, increased access to care, or higher-quality care," NQF President and CEO Janet Corrigan said in a statement. "I'm confident that these additional measures--in conjunction with existing resource use measures in our portfolio--will help us better understand what is driving costs and create a more effective, efficient healthcare system."

NQF this week also approved 14 prenatal measures, including childbirth, pregnancy and post-partum and newborn care, as well as 12 renal care measures, such as chronic kidney disease, end stage renal disease and dialysis treatment.

With increased efforts to measure efficiency and costs, the American Hospital Association also released a report last week on cost management, business restructuring and clinical transformation.

For more information:
- see the NQF announcements on resource measures, prenatal measures and renal care measures
- check out the resource use project information (.pdf)

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