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Advancing Chief Complaint-Based Quality Measurement Final Report 

Date of Publication:
JUN 2019
Associated Project:
Chief Complaint-Based Quality for Emergency Care
The National Quality Forum (NQF) convened a multi-stakeholder Committee to develop a strategic roadmap advancing chief complaint data standardization and the development and use of chief complaint-based quality measures in emergency departments (ED), and other use cases including syndromic surveillance. Chief complaints, the primary symptoms reported by a patient seeking treatment, often guide diagnostic decision-making and care in the ED. Aggregated chief complaint data are also used by regional and state-level public health systems for syndromic surveillance. Currently, there is no accepted standard nomenclature for classifying chief complaints. This lack of standardization limits the utility and aggregation of chief complaint data, which in turn complicates the facilitation of patient-centered care, disease surveillance, and quality measurement using chief complaints. Nomenclatures, ontologies, and technological solutions to fill this void exist, but guidance or consensus on how to effectively navigate these approaches do not. This report presents the Committee’s recommendations to address these issues.