Today, the Washinton, D.C.-based National Quality Forum (NQF) released two new reports—Driving Quality: A Model to Measure Electronic Health IT Use and Driving Quality and Performance Measurement: A Foundation for Clinical Decision Support. In direct support of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), NQF's work will promote effective use of health IT tools, ensure a stronger health IT infrastructure, and help improve America's healthcare system.
Identifying and developing health IT use measures and tracking performance on these measures requires an understanding of a system's features and functions and when and how they are used. The Driving Quality: A Model to Measure Electronic Health IT Use report, based on the work of NQF's Health Information Technology Utilization Expert Panel, developed the "Health IT Use Assessment Framework." This framework provides a unique approach to measuring the use of health IT tools and how that use improves care processes, quality, and safety. Additionally, as health IT use measures are developed, the framework will provide clear guidelines for the information needed to construct these measures.
The Expert Panel's work expands on the Quality Data Set (QDS). The QDS is "a model of information" that clearly describes clinical concepts used in quality measurement and clinical care so providers, researchers, measure developers, and others monitoring clinical performance and outcomes can consistently communicate necessary information. The QDS model also describes information in a manner that allows EHR and other health IT vendors to interpret the data and clearly locate the data required.