National Quality Forum President and CEO Christine Cassel, MD, recommends actions healthcare stakeholders can take to support “the path forward” in quality measurement in a commentary published in the September 1, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article, “Learning From the Past to Measure the Future,” which is co-authored with Richard Kronick, PhD, the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, highlights the findings of a meeting of nearly two dozen leaders in healthcare quality and improvement. Convened by NQF and AHRQ, these leaders looked at current abilities to measure healthcare, discussed what has and has not worked, and formulated a vision for the future.
Cassel and Kronick note that we are at a “critical inflection point” of multiple policies and initiatives seeking to improve healthcare quality and value. At the same time, there are concerns that national improvement is not occurring quickly enough given the resources expended on measurement and reporting. To support the future of quality measurement, they recommend that healthcare stakeholders align and reduce the number of measures in use and place greater emphasis on how measurement can support internal improvement efforts along with payment and accountability applications. Additionally, Cassel and Kronick call for the development of better measures through greater collaboration with measure users and by garnering feedback from clinicians and healthcare organizations using measures at the point of care.
According to the authors, advances in technology have made it possible for the healthcare field to start leveraging the large amounts of data available from electronic health records, insurance claims, federal and state sources, and communities. Meanwhile, advances in delivery system integration have “created a platform whereby measurement can effectively be used for improvement and reporting with less cost.”