Also new in this set of measures, the NQF addresses ways to evaluate mental health care for children. The full list of NQF endorsed measures can be found here.
Perhaps among the most debated items on the list, Burstin said, is one that calls for reporting of percentages of newborns in which birthweight is less than 2,500 grams, or 5.51 pounds. "There has been a great deal of interest in some of the measures around low birth weight, because that represents an opportunity to begin comparing at a population level," Burstin said.
The NQF reviews the accumulation of evidence that a particular practice is sound and a way to compare quality of care. When a certain measure reaches a threshold, it comes up for review by NQF panelists and others and is eventually approved or postponed for more information.
For example, the NQF wants providers to count "the percentage of children who turned 6 months old during the measurement year and who had sudden infant death," or "the percentage of children who turned 2 years old during the measurement year who had a developmental screening and proper follow-up performed between 6 months and 2 years of age."
"A real goal of quality measurement is improvement, and you can't improve what you can't measure. We have to start at the measurement phase," she said.