• Advancing measurement science is critical as performance measures are now essential building blocks in large-scale efforts by public and private payers to reform the nation’s healthcare delivery and payment systems. As measurement becomes increasingly consequential, NQF’s portfolio of measurement science work is expanding. The key goal of the work is to clear the way for the next-generation measures that the rapidly evolving health system demands.

    NQF’s current measurement science work covers an array of leading, cross-cutting issues and builds upon 15 years of science-based endorsement and recent work to link cost and quality. We have also taken a close look at whether the intended use of measures should be considered as part of endorsement. The final report of this work will be issued early next year and will propose two strata of endorsed measures: measures that meet our current endorsement criteria and those that exceed it, with an emphasis on reliability and validity, including feedback from those being measured.

    NQF is addressing the question of how to assign the quality of patients' health outcomes to particular providers when care for those patients is shared. This is critical as the federal government and private payers increasingly move toward shared accountability under value-based payment structures. In another project, NQF is examining how slightly different versions of the same measure add additional, unnecessary reporting burden for providers and can make performance comparisons difficult. NQF will focus on how to minimize unnecessary variation across similar measures by identifying how, why, and where the tweaking of measures is occurring. The project will create a framework for understanding and interpreting variation across measures and promote a common understanding of key terms, concepts, and measure components to help further standardize measurement efforts.

    “This is a very exciting time for measurement science, and NQF is at the forefront,” said Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, chief scientific officer for NQF. “By accomplishing this work, we hope to resolve some of the most challenging issues in measurement and free the field to more efficiently get to the measures that matter in today’s fast-changing healthcare system.”

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