WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum (NQF) hails the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) release of its National Quality Strategy as an important milestone in improving patient care. The strategy released this week provides comprehensive direction for achieving high-quality, affordable healthcare and a healthier population. The plan includes setting high performance goals in priority areas for patient care and population health, and a measurement and reporting system to determine how and whether our healthcare system is achieving those goals.
"The National Quality Strategy emphasizes themes that NQF strongly supports: the imperative to make care safer, more connected, more affordable, inclusive of the consumer, and measurable," said NQF President and CEO Corrigan, Ph.D., MBA. "We commend HHS for laying out broad national aims for how the public and private sector can prioritize and coordinate their individual efforts and work toward a common goal of healthier people and a healthcare system that reliably delivers better quality."
The focus on high-quality, standardized performance measures across the healthcare enterprise provides NQF with a significant role in making the strategy a successful venture. As an independent standard-setting entity representing those who pay for, deliver, receive, and evaluate healthcare, NQF has a 10-year track record of bringing together all these players to endorse best-in-class performance measures. Measures will be the base for electronic medical records incentives, payment based on performance, and reports to the public that families and consumers can use to make decisions about their care.
NQF also convenes the National Priorities Partnership (NPP), a group of 48 organizations that provide guidance in setting and working toward national priorities and representing the full range of stakeholders involved in healthcare. Under contract to provide input to the HHS Secretary on the National Quality Strategy, NPP put forth its recommendations on national priorities and goals in a report submitted to HHS on October 14, 2010.
The newly released National Quality Strategy has incorporated many of these priority areas, as evidenced in its focus on making care safer, ensuring person- and family-centered care, promoting effective communication and coordination of care, prevention, and making quality care more affordable.
"By setting high standards for healthcare performance and measuring that performance, we can have greater transparency into the results achieved for every dollar spent," said Dr. Corrigan. "This is an historic opportunity to make high-quality, affordable healthcare the new standard in our nation."
Why It Matters: Measure. Report. Improve.
Provisions in the National Quality Strategy deploy a three-step continuum under the HHS Secretary to improve care and lower costs by measuring healthcare performance, reporting the results, and using those results to improve care. The three steps mirror NQF's mission and 10-year track record of endorsing performance measures for public reporting and improvement.
- Measure. Measuring healthcare's performance and heeding the results offers a gateway to transformational improvements. Standardized performance measures play an important role in benchmarking a set of high expectations for the care provided to patients no matter where they live.
- Report. Publishing results spurs healthcare providers to adopt best practices and make corrections where performance is weak. It also provides patients and their families with information to make decisions about where and how they receive care.
- Improve. Measuring performance and reporting results have spurred significant quality improvement efforts that have saved both lives and money. Improvements that are grounded in reliable, sound performance data will improve the quality of care and make it possible to affordably expand coverage to America's under- and uninsured.
"We cannot improve what we cannot measure. More robust information about how healthcare is performing, who is doing it well, and what we need to improve are the pillars of our nation's efforts to curb spending and improve care," Dr. Corrigan said. "The National Quality Strategy provides a great opportunity to ensure that healthcare reforms make a difference for America's patients and pocketbooks."
The National Quality Forum (NQF) operates under a three-part mission to improve the quality of American healthcare by:
- building consensus on national priorities and goals for performance improvement and working in partnership to achieve them;
- endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance; and
- promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs.
For more information about NQF, visit www.qualityforum.org.
SOURCE National Quality Forum