The National Quality Forum (NQF), a not-for-profit organization that works to catalyze improvements in healthcare, evaluates and endorses tools for standardized performance measurement. These performance measures assess structure, process, outcomes and patient perceptions of care, and the resulting standards can be utilized by healthcare institutions, providers and consumers to:
- Create reliable, comparative performance information on which consumers can rely to make informed decisions about their care;
- Ensure practitioners and provider organizations are held accountable for the quality and efficiency of their performance;
- Support quality improvement activities.
Data gathered by using these performance standards can subsequently be used to improve healthcare quality in three main ways: public reporting, pay for performance and internal quality improvement. In this blog, we’ll examine each method and outline its benefits.
Many healthcare providers have been publicly reporting their quality, safety and performance data for years to meet the growing demand for transparency. However, merely reporting the data without stringent standards for defining and collecting data can lead to misinformation or conflicting results. By utilizing performance standards in public reporting, consumers can make better informed decisions about their medical care, physicians have access to incentives for quality improvement and there is an overall positive impact on quality measures.
Pay for performance
Unlike a healthcare payment system in which providers are paid based on volume of care or number of patients, pay-for-performance rewards providers for achieving specific performance goals for quality and cost measures. Through promoting clinical guidelines and best practices for patient care, pay-for-performance aims to reduce medication errors, readmissions, operational costs and practice variations and improve overall quality of care. Ultimately, the goal is to incentivize clinicians to provide the highest quality of care in the most efficient, cost effective way.
Internal quality improvement
Internal quality improvement takes place within a healthcare delivery system and uses results from quality measurements to manage or improve care processes. It involves standards used by an individual healthcare provider to measure and monitor its own performance and often is initiated by physician performance and clinical data. Although the standards utilized through internal quality improvement are not always acceptable for public reporting, external quality improvement programs and methods can be used to support them. Internal quality improvement programs typically focus on a single process or initiative and, when well executed, can return valuable results in a relatively short time frame.
Learning how the newest healthcare technologies may benefit your healthcare organization can be a complex process, but Syntrix Consulting is available to help you combine the right tools to meet your unique organizational needs. Contact us today for a free initial consultation. At Syntrix, We Make Healthcare Data Talk!™
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