Setting Priorities

Developing the Alignment Tool 

Many states and communities are leaders in pioneering performance measurement and public reporting. The current landscape reflects regional variations in data sources, market structures, type of collaborators, and local priorities. To align or expand their efforts in consistent ways, many organizations want to know which NQF-endorsed® measures others are using and what their experience has been.

NQF’s Community Tool to Align Measurement (Alignment Tool), an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), provides insight for those interested in starting or expanding measurement and public reporting in ways that align with others as well as national programs. Developed in collaboration with the 16 community alliances in the RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) program, this practical tool consists of NQF-endorsed® measures already in use by one or more AF4Q Alliances, mapped to the National Quality Strategy priorities and several national programs that involve reporting requirements or payment incentives. The Alignment Tool includes lessons from three AF4Q Alliances regarding the use of specific measures and their general approach to measurement and pubic reporting.

The process for developing the Alignment Tool had two phases: the first step entailed convening a multi-stakeholder group to drive the basic structure of the Tool, while the second phase involved working with the AF4Q Alliances to pull together the content and refine the Tool.

Phase 1: Constructing an Alignment Tool

In October 2010, a workgroup, consisting of community, state, and national leaders, identified high- priority categories and sub-categories by which the measures should be classified, as well as key issues to ensure the practical value of the Tool for anyone engaged in measurement and reporting. In preparation for this work, NQF subcontracted with Mathematica Policy Research to assess the current public reporting landscape. This work included:

  1. an environmental scan of many existing public reporting projects,
  2. a catalog of a sample of those public reporting projects along with associated measures, and
  3. a map of the cataloged measures to the National Priorities Partnership (NPP) National Priorities and Goals and the NQF-endorsed® Patient-Focused Episodes of Care Measurement Framework.

In January 2011, NQF released a report documenting the first phase of this project and the findings from the workshop.

Phase 2: Refining the Tool

In early 2011, NQF began to work with AF4Q communities in Maine, Cincinnati, and Detroit to review the categories and sub-categories proposed by the multi-stakeholder group, map the NQF-endorsed measures they use to these categories, and help shape the Tool’s overall content. As the high-priority categories were identified prior to the release of the National Quality Strategy (NQS), they have since been mapped to the six NQS priorities to encourage measurement decisions to align around the national priority areas. In addition to listing the NQF-endorsed measures in use by each of the 16 AF4Q Alliances, the Tool includes practical information from the three AF4Q communities about their use of specific measures —such as examples of any plain language measure titles, the intended audience, data source(s), and observed impact,

Beginning in the spring of 2012, NQF intends to work with two or more additional communities that want to use the Tool to expand or align their current measurement efforts. By going through the steps together and gathering insights, NQF will refine the Tool to ensure it’s as practical and valuable as possible for any organization interested in aligning their measurement and reporting efforts.

Contact Information  

For more information, please email at



OCTOBER 12, 2010  | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM