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NQF Initiative to Determine the Impact of Adjusting Healthcare Performance Measures for Social Risk Factors Highlights Successes, Opportunities

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The National Quality Forum’s (NQF) two-year trial to risk adjust certain healthcare performance measures for social risk factors found that this adjustment is feasible, with 17 measures endorsed by NQF adjusted for factors such as a person’s level of education. In a newly issued report, NQF reviews the findings of its initiative and highlights areas that need further exploration to provide a better understanding of how social risk factors can influence health and health outcomes.

In the trial, NQF considered a total of 303 measures across 16 areas, including all measures submitted for review from April 2015 through April 2017, as well as 20 measures newly endorsed in 2014 with the condition of being considered for social risk adjustment. Of the total reviewed by NQF, 93 measures included clinical or some other form of risk adjustment. Of these, 65 measures had a conceptual basis for social risk adjustment, and 17 measures were endorsed with social risk adjustment.

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