• Two new NQF initiatives are addressing healthcare concerns of national importance: antibiotic stewardship and advanced illness care. The initiatives are spearheaded by National Quality Partners (NQP), an effort to galvanize NQF’s more than 430 organizational members to take action on pressing healthcare issues.

    Antibiotic Stewardship

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic misuse and overuse causes more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths globally, prompting local, national, and international efforts for better antibiotic stewardship. NQP’s antibiotic stewardship initiative expects to accelerate the adoption of antibiotic stewardship programs and enhance the use of quality measures and accountability levers to affect antibiotic prescribing patterns across the U.S. healthcare system and communities nationwide.

    Members of NQP’s antibiotic stewardship action team will provide guidance and feedback on current antibiotic stewardship metrics, recommend best practices for incorporating antibiotic stewardship into accountability programs, and assess tools and resources to support stewardship. The antibiotic stewardship initiative is co-chaired by representatives from HCA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is supported by with funding from Merck & Co., Inc., HCA, the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and Premier, Inc.

    More than 145 NQF members participated in a recent webinar focused on the role that stakeholders, including payers and providers, play in stewarding antibiotic use and ensuring patient safety. Speakers emphasized the importance of creating a culture of stewardship where everyone, from chief medical officers and pharmacy directors to the CEO and the board of directors, is engaged. By identifying challenges and opportunities early in the planning process, organizations can create customized plans to address the needs of their local communities. Action team participants will convene in person in December to collaborate on next steps.

    Advanced Illness Care

    The nation is facing a need for improved advanced illness care as many of the 9 million Americans who will be more than 85 years old by 2030 will suffer from substantial disability and chronic conditions. In its recently proposed physician payment rule, HHS recommends that providers be paid for time spent counseling patients about advanced illness care plans because of the “importance for the quality of care and treatment of the patient.”

    NQP kicked off the advanced illness care initiative with a virtual forum on September 24. The session addressed the need for coordinated advanced illness care that honors patients’ personal preferences, goals, and values, and enhances their quality of life. This was the first in a series of events planned for this initiative, which will build upon and enhance NQF’s measure endorsement work in this important area. The initiative is co-chaired by representatives from the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and Planetree.

    For more information, contact NationalQualityPartners@qualityforum.org.

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