Dr Marcia Wilson on Addressing Quantity vs Quality for Care Measurements

Marcia Wilson, PhD, MBA, senior vice president of quality measurement at The National Quality Forum, explained that one’s opinion of quality measures comes from the type of work they are in — while a primary care physician may think there are too many, a health plan could believe there’s not enough. The challenge then, she added, is filling these gaps by creating and testing new, outcome-driven measures.

Marcia Wilson, PhD, MBA, senior vice president of quality measurement at The National Quality Forum, explained that one’s opinion of quality measures comes from the type of work they are in — while a primary care physician may think there are too many, a health plan could believe there’s not enough. The challenge then, she added, is filling these gaps by creating and testing new, outcome-driven measures.

Transcript (slightly modified)

Some feel there are too many quality measures, while other feel there are too few. How is the National Quality Forum working to address these concerns?

It does depend on who you ask and their perspective. So, for example, if you were to ask a primary care physician, a family practice physician, or an internal medicine physician, they would definitely say there are too many measures because they have to collect the data and report on a number of performance measures to all different types of entities.

On the other hand, if we look at patients with certain condition, or certain areas of care like care coordination when a patient sees multiple providers, we don’t have nearly enough measures there. How do we know that patients with certain conditions or in certain care areas are getting the right services?

There are gaps in those areas. So, one thing that National Quality Forum has done has developed what we call a measure incubator and this is an innovative environment. It’s a place where multiple parties can come together to hopefully develop measures that are needed faster and more efficiently.

So, we bring together people who have the idea of a measure. Where is the gap? We want to measure for patients, for example, with multiple sclerosis, we want to measure the care that they are getting. So someone has an idea for a measure. We get experts who are good at measure development. We find people who have the data, so we can test that measure and we find people who can provide funding and technical expertise.

NQF is playing a matchmaker in this area, so that hopefully we can get to more meaningful measures and fill these gaps sooner.