What's Wrong With Healthcare Quality Measures? Part I

Cheryl Clark, November 14, 2013

We need to measure the hell out of healthcare to help us compare one organization or system with others. I believe measuring quality helps healthcare systems improve. But I also believe that we can measure healthcare quality a lot better than we do.

If you really think about it, the way we measure hospital quality of care is pretty darn primitive. That's what I've concluded after a few days contemplating today's methods and practice of measurement.

The way we think we know how good we are at providing high value care is really flawed.

Please don't get me wrong. We need to measure the hell out of healthcare to help us compare one organization or system with others. Yes, it can be painful and stunning to realize competing hospitals have figured out how to do things better. I believe measuring quality helps healthcare systems improve.

But we have a ton of work to do to make our evaluations meaningful to leaders, to providers, to patients, and to the public. With the system as it is, too many organizations just use this imperfection as grounds for inattention.

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