WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum (NQF) has commissioned two research papers to assess NQF's current and potential role to support healthcare measurement and public reporting at the state and community levels. The reports, compiled by the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, provide recommendations and comments collected from various state and community leaders regarding the ways NQF can better support their measurement and reporting needs.
"Local collaboratives look to NQF for performance measures that are valid and reliable, feasible to implement, and will provide useful performance information," said Christopher Queram, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality. "By making their tools and processes more easily accessible to these groups, NQF is taking an important first step to further strengthen national and regional alliances dedicated to improving the quality and affordability of healthcare and the health of their local communities."
"With the recent passage of health reform, it is clear that the commitment of NQF to better meet the needs of state leaders is both timely and essential," added Nikki Highsmith, senior vice president with the Center for Health Care Strategies.
The reports presented a number of recommendations to achieve the goal of better meeting the needs of both state and community groups engaged in health-related measurement and public reporting. The recommendations, a number of which are in sync with work under way within NQF or its key national partners, include:
- actively engage state and community leaders in NQF processes and make it easier to get involved;
- speed up the process to endorse performance measures;
- identify and promote the use of a core set of high-leverage, high-impact measures that are readily available, and take aggressive action to fill the gaps in measurement;
- bridge the healthcare system and public health by identifying population-based measures for which the healthcare system can be held accountable;
- develop a strategic quality measurement dashboard that reflects the healthcare system in total as opposed to individual components of the healthcare system; and,
- establish various affinity groups and help connect national quality networks that represent community collaboratives to promote learning and sharing among peers.
The reports provided an ideal opportunity for NQF to seek direct input from leaders in community collaboratives, and from state Medicaid officials, insurance commissioners, administrators of public health, and national health policy experts to assess the ways in which NQF could better support local work, in addition to incorporating their perspectives into NQF priority-setting, measure endorsement, and measure application efforts.
A core strategy of NQF's community initiatives program is to increase awareness and attentiveness within NQF to the needs of states and communities involved in measurement and public reporting. This includes assessing and addressing ways to make NQF resources and materials more understandable and accessible to a broader array of groups across the country. To encourage and enable more active involvement from state-based agencies, NQF took action in September 2010 to reduce the dues structure for state Medicaid programs, state and local public health and regulatory departments, and state-sponsored health insurance exchanges and health information exchanges.
In addition, NQF has streamlined the process to endorse measures and is working with measure developers and others to encourage better ways to measure outcomes and address the needs of vulnerable populations. NQF is also working with community coalitions and others to identify a set of basic measures for a model dashboard and developing a better way to search NQF-endorsed measures online using a tool called the Quality Positioning System (QPS).
"The purpose of both of these projects is to provide practical tools that have been requested by community and state leaders," said Diane Stollenwerk, MPP, vice president of Community Alliances with NQF. "The dashboard will enable interested organizations and agencies to align their public reporting for easier benchmarking, and QPS will allow people to search lists of measures that are being used by others around the country to allow easier sharing and learning from each other."
Many activities at NQF are of direct interest to states and communities. For example, NQF-convened Measure Applications Partnership (MAP), created to provide input to the Department of Health and Human Services and others on measures for use in public reporting and performance-based payment programs, will assess measure concepts and gaps associated with meeting the needs of the Medicare-Medicaid dual-eligible population. This year NQF will conduct an environmental scan, and an endorsement project to identify measures of population health. In addition, the National Priorities Partnership, which is also convened by NQF, is now placing a stronger focus on being a catalyst for implementation of the recently-released National Quality Strategy. This will include sharing useful, related materials for state leaders, community alliances, and others.
"The National Quality Forum (NQF) is committed to serving the measurement and public reporting needs at the community, state, and national levels to improve health and healthcare," said Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum. "This is a time of tremendous change, so there is a real opportunity to address problems that may have seemed insurmountable in the past."
The full reports, "In Support of Regional Healthcare Improvement," compiled by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, and "Building Bridges Among the National Quality Forum, Medicaid, and Other State Stakeholders," compiled by the Center for Health Care Strategies, are now available on NQF's website: http://www.qualityforum.org/Setting_Priorities/Communities/Serving_State_and_Community_Leaders.aspx.
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