The National Quality Forum (NQF) released a new commissioned report authored by the RAND Corporation, “An Evaluation of the Use of Performance Measures,” that evaluates how performance measures are currently being used in healthcare.
The independent evaluation is part of broader efforts to improve health and healthcare. It was performed as part of a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who is a key stakeholder in driving use of standardized performance measures and assessing if healthcare spending is achieving the best results for patients and taxpayers.
Over the course of six months, RAND researchers conducted interviews with measure end-users—such as community collaboratives, health plans, state and federal government agencies, and consumer groups—and performed a review of publicly available documents and materials from websites. Nearly all instances of measure such as public reporting, payment and network selection, accreditation and certification, and quality improvement, came with recommendations.
Organizations cited a number of internal and external factors driving their use of performance measures, such as legislative requirements related to quality-based payments and public reporting contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ability of data to construct measures was the single-most important cited factor as either facilitating or impeding the use of measures.
Respondents noted that NQF-endorsement or widespread use of a measure enhanced provider buy-in. A number of areas where measure gaps exist were pointed out, as well as areas where new specialty measures would be useful. Interview participants also stressed the need for better alignment between measures used in the public and private sectors around national priorities.