NQF Endorses Regionalized Emergency Medical Care Framework 

JAN 17, 2012

CONTACT: Erin Weireter

NQF Endorses Regionalized Emergency Medical Care Framework

Washington, DC – The National Quality Forum (NQF) has approved for endorsement a framework for measuring and evaluating regionalized emergency medical care systems. The framework establishes a road map for systematically regionalizing emergency care services at the national, state, and regional level.

The concept of regionalization – described by the Institute of Medicine as an established network of resources that delivers specific care to a defined population of patients or within a defined geography – has been identified as a means of improving emergency medical care through more efficient resource use. Emergency care services such as trauma, neonatal care, and poison control have been coordinated across geographic areas for many years. More recently, care for patients suffering time-sensitive emergency conditions such as stroke and acute myocardial infarction has been regionalized on a statewide basis. As these emergency care systems continue to expand in breadth and scope, the systems must ensure they are using resources efficiently to maximize patient outcomes and ultimately improve care quality.

The measurement framework – developed by NQF in collaboration with the University of North Carolina-Department of Emergency Medicine – includes several core components, including key terms and definitions related to regionalized systems, a description of an Episodes of Care model used for systems evaluation, a set of six key domains considered critical for evaluating these care settings, and a set of principles intended to guide the measurement framework’s development and implementation  of measures with such systems.

“Performance measurement is critical to improving care quality in emergency medical care systems,” said Janet Corrigan, PhD, MBA, president and CEO of NQF. “This measurement framework will help inform future efforts to identify and evaluate performance standards for measuring and reporting the quality of emergency services at the national, state, and regional levels.”

NQF is a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization. Any party may request reconsideration of this framework by submitting an appeal no later than Wednesday, February 15. To submit an appeal, please email appeals@qualityforum.org. For an appeal to be considered, the notification must include information clearly demonstrating that the appellant has interests directly and materially affected by the NQF-endorsed recommendations and that the NQF decision has had (or will have) an adverse effect on those interests.

NQF operates under a three-part mission to improve the quality of American healthcare by:  

  • building consensus on national priorities and goals for performance improvement and working in partnership to achieve them;  
  • endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance; and  
  • promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs.