National Quality Forum's Cassel Addresses

In a commentary just published in The American Journal of Managed Care, Christine K. Cassel, MD, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, discusses what can be done to scale back the number of measures providers must use, what is being done to address socioeconomic differences, and other issues. This commentary is part of a series appearing for the journal's 20th anniversary.

National Quality Forum’s Cassel Addresses “Measure Fatigue” in AJMCFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 5, 2015

PLAINSBORO, N.J.—Bringing accountability to healthcare through measurement has been a good thing, but it’s time to bring order to the way healthcare quality is measured, according to the author of a new commentary in The American Journal of Managed Care.

In “Making Measurement Meaningful,” Christine K. Cassel, MD, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), writes that the rise of healthcare measurement and its increased connection to payment has brought about “measure fatigue,” as providers are asked to use dozens of different metrics to gauge how well they are treating common conditions like diabetes or hypertension. The NQF supported initiatives to standardize measurement in federal agencies, Cassel writes, and hopes to promote alignment across public programs and commercial plans, such as contributing to the effort led by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and CMS.

Cassel writes about other NQF initiatives, including a two-year trial that seeks to address the challenge of socioeconomic differences in measurement. This required balancing different perspectives on adjusting for these characteristics. For example, urban teaching hospitals fear a loss of federal reimbursement dollars if they cannot meet population health targets in certain chronic conditions; their leaders say patients arrive with more underlying health issues and have less access to healthy food and exercise opportunities. On the other hand, some express concern that such adjustments could mask real differences in care quality for the poor.

The commentary concludes with a call for collaboration among all users of quality measures. “We can’t do this important work alone,” Cassel writes.

Cassel’s commentary is the fifth in a yearlong series appearing in The American Journal of Managed Care to mark the publication’s 20th anniversary. To access the series and other material related to the anniversary, please visit the special anniversary page.

About the Journals

The American Journal of Managed Care celebrates its 20th year in 2015 as the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. Other titles in the franchise include The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision-makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care, and The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary on new healthcare delivery models facilitated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s news publications, the Evidence-Based series, bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

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