Despite the widespread use of healthcare measures in the past two decades, many areas of health and healthcare still do not have enough or the right kinds of measures to provide the information needed to drive improvement. A new and innovative effort—the NQF Measure Incubator—is working to address these important gaps by facilitating an improved measure development process.
Measure development hasn’t been able to keep pace for care of people with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple chronic conditions, or those receiving palliative or end-of-life care. These and other areas such as behavioral health, patient-reported outcomes, and diagnostic accuracy need better data to benchmark performance and help ensure that patients receive high-quality care.
“Creating a quality measure and putting it into use can take two to three years and can be costly,” said Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, chief scientific officer of NQF. “NQF’s Measure Incubator aims to simplify and hasten this process for needed measures by nurturing innovative ideas and data platforms, much like incubators in technology environments.”
The incubator connects groups interested in particular measure concepts with measure development experts, financial and technical resources, and data. To reduce measure development time, entities participating in the NQF Measure Incubator will have continuous access to data to iteratively test and adjust measures. The Measure Incubator also holds promise to reduce the time and expense of real-world testing and make measure development more efficient by standardizing best practices in measure development.
NQF currently is working with an array of stakeholders, data partners, and measurement development experts to test the effectiveness of the Measure Incubator. PatientsLikeMe, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is working with NQF to develop, test, and facilitate the broader use of patient-reported outcome measures. OptumLabs is also a collaborator with NQF, and is involving several of its partners, including the University of Maryland, AARP, and Mayo Clinic, to conduct a “proof of concept.” This effort will develop and test measures using OptumLabs’ data resources and expertise.
To further refine the Measure Incubator process, NQF will hold a design session on February 24 and 25 that will convene 30 to 40 stakeholders representing all sectors interested in measure development.
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