• NQF is advancing an initiative to make health data more meaningful, usable, and available in real time for providers and consumers. To gain additional insight from healthcare leaders and front line clinicians, the organization recently convened a webinar to discuss and refine strategies presented in an NQF draft white paper. Issued in June, the white paper identified actionable approaches to provide more timely data and ensure that data can be used for widespread improvement.

    The meeting explored specific strategies that could be used to improve access and use of data, ranging from policy actions that can be taken at the federal level to actions that can be taken at the point of care. Featured speakers included Stanford School of Medicine Professor, Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, and Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice Director, Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, as well as NQF’s President and CEO, Christine K. Cassel, MD.

    Milstein shared the results of a project he has undertaken to identify high-performing primary care practices across the nation that deliver high quality care at lower costs. If the innovations at these “bright spots” could be spread, they could help make the U.S. healthcare system the highest performing system in the world.

    Fisher, meanwhile, stressed the importance of using data from the clinical setting to facilitate improvement, citing an example of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s orthopedics division using functional status data reported by patients to guide physicians’ treatment decisions about joint replacement. “We need to use data to understand how patients are functioning overall to improve at the point of care,” he said.

    More than 100 participants joined the call from around the country. Among them was Bonnie Westra, PhD, RN, associate professor and director of the Center for Nursing Informatics at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, who prompted discussion about the importance of integrated data that represents interprofessional practice for quality improvement. Care is increasingly a team sport, and the data need to reflect this reality.

    The NQF initiative was supported by The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. A final white paper incorporating feedback from a public comment period in June, as well comments shared on the recent webinar, will be issued by the end of July.

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