How does NQF work to identify the areas for which measures are most needed to improve quality?
NQF does not develop measures. We do help to identify and analyze measure gaps and areas in which measures are needed but do not currently exist. We use three complementary activities to define these gaps, using the three aims and the six priorities of the National Quality Strategy as our organizing principle. The National Quality Strategy is a nationwide effort to provide direction for improving the quality of health and healthcare in the United States. It is guided by three aims: better care, healthy people and communities, and affordable care.
First, when NQF begins a measure endorsement project, a formal process to evaluate and endorse different types of consensus standards, we put out a call for measures indicating to developers the types of measures needed. An expert committee assesses the measures we receive and defines critical areas for which no measures exist.
Second, the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) , an NQF-convened group that reviews performance measures for potential use in federal public reporting and performance-based payment programs, identifies measurement gaps by creating families of measures—groups of measures that address an NQS priority or high-impact condition across various settings of care, type of data analysis, populations, or reporting programs.
Third, NQF submits an annual measure gap analysis report to the Department of Health and Human Services. This report maps NQF measures against the National Quality Strategy’s priorities, goals, and high-impact Medicare and child health conditions. It also identifies areas for which no endorsed measures exist.