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IOM Calls for National Quality Measures for Pediatric Healthcare

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 27, 2011

4. New measures should include preventive services with an emphasis on the child's life-course, and include metrics in oral, mental and behavioral health as well as substance abuse. Such emphasis "can pay dividends in savings to the healthcare system by addressing problems before they appear later in life."

5. Measures should focus on relationships between the social determinants of pediatric health and should support interagency collaboration with HHS.

6. The measures should include health conditions, levels of functioning, and access to care.

7. The Secretary should place priority on interactions between HHS agencies and other federal agencies to strengthen the capacity to link data sources in behavioral health and social determinants.

8. The effort should set a goal of improving timeliness and fostering greater transparency in healthcare, educational and social services.

9. The linking of data and research should resolve legal and ethical concerns about privacy and data sharing.

10. HHS should establish a timetable for all states to report on a core set of standardized measures that can be used in the health information technology infrastructure to assess health and healthcare quality.

The report's conclusions emphasize that existing data sources have strengths and limitations, but lack common definitions and common data elements, such as insurance coverage status.

It specifies the need to get a better understanding of a child's health literacy, biological influences, health status of family members, health issues in geographic regions or neighborhoods, and other ways to look at the whole child.

The report also points to the need for a long-term view, and the importance of obtaining longitudinal data on the same families and same children over time.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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