National Quality Forum Convenes Multistakeholder Committee to Create Measurement Framework Linking Quality of Care Delivered by Telehealth, Healthcare System Readiness, and Health Outcomes 

JAN 26, 2021

CONTACT: Proof Strategies

National Quality Forum Convenes Multistakeholder Committee to Create Measurement Framework Linking Quality of Care Delivered by Telehealth, Healthcare System Readiness, and Health Outcomes

Washington, DC
– In fall 2020, the National Quality Forum (NQF) launched a 30-day nomination period for convening a new multistakeholder committee, Rural Telehealth and Healthcare System Readiness Committee, to develop a measurement framework linking quality of care delivered by telehealth, healthcare system readiness, and health outcomes in a disaster. This diverse committee of 25 individuals representing NQF Member organizations and other stakeholders will participate in up to six virtual meetings over a 15-month period to discuss, update, and enhance NQF’s 2017 telehealth framework.

An increase in telehealth use and changes in telehealth policy have provided an opportunity for treatment and monitoring that otherwise may not have been possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While telehealth offers tremendous potential to transform the healthcare delivery system by overcoming geographical distance and enhancing access to care, complex challenges persist within rural areas of the country. COVID-19 has magnified the barriers faced in rural areas such as resource constraints, hospital and healthcare facility closures, healthcare professional shortages, and lack of broadband access.

“Rural residents face unique challenges in the pursuit of improved access to care, health equity, and optimal health outcomes,” said Sheri Winsper, RN, MSN, MSHA, Senior Vice President, Quality Measurement, National Quality Forum. “We recognize that measuring quality in these areas is critical to ensure the health of individuals in all communities is maintained and the ill and injured receive appropriate and time-sensitive care, especially during situations such as public-health crises.”

NQF and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize these challenges and have partnered to convene this new multistakeholder committee to build a consensus-based framework to specifically assess the impact of telehealth on rural healthcare system readiness, especially during emergencies. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an NQF Member, is also one of the key partners in this work, bringing an important voice to the table to improve health outcomes and address health disparities through access to quality services. The committee will identify aspects of quality measurement related to telehealth that could impact a healthcare system readiness framework, and how a rural healthcare system’s performance may impact mortality or other health outcomes during a disaster.

“Telehealth serves an important role in bringing vital healthcare services directly to patients no matter where they reside. The work of the new multistakeholder committee to assess the impact of telehealth in rural areas is a key first step to ensuring both continuous innovation and, most importantly, that these services are clinically appropriate and safe for all patients to complement in-person care” said Dr. Lee Fleisher, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director at the Center for Clinical Standards & Quality.

Throughout the project, there are several engagement opportunities for NQF Members and the public to add comments to this important work. Interested parties can sign-up for project alerts to follow the project’s progression. This work is funded by CMS.


About National Quality Forum
The National Quality Forum (NQF) works with members of the healthcare community to drive measurable health improvements together. NQF is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization that gives all healthcare stakeholders a voice in advancing quality measures and improvement strategies that lead to better outcomes and greater value. Learn more at