What's Wrong With Healthcare Quality Measures? Part II

Cheryl Clark, November 21, 2013

We know that measuring healthcare quality helps healthcare systems improve. But we could and should be doing it a lot better.

The way we measure quality in healthcare is pretty darn primitive. Even how we think about what constitutes quality is flawed. Just look at the examples I've been compiling and tell me I'm wrong. You may share your own observations in the comments below. Or email me directly.

Part I covers items 1 6 on my list. Here are the rest:

7. Quality Measures Come and Go
 What we call a legitimate measure for payment or reporting is usually endorsed by a long negotiated process within the National Quality Forum, a 14-year old organization contracted by CMS to come up with valid ways to measure quality in most healthcare settings. But 15% of the 700 or so measures used today have not received NQF endorsement.

What's more, the number of measures that receive its imprimatur changes drastically. According to Robert Panzer, MD, chief quality officer and associate vice president for the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY, in the last year, NQF withdrew endorsement for more than 100 of its endorsed measures, and added another 90.

The NQF process is largely hidden from public view. How do hospitals keep up with all this?

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