Bringing Patient-Centeredness to Quality Measurement in Health Care

Doctor and patient

Quality measures can help payers to reward better care, providers to take action to improve care, and patients to make informed decisions about where to seek care. Yet many quality measures are based on what we can readily measure—whether certain processes were followed or whether specific outcomes were reached, like lower HbA1c levels for diabetes. And while those are helpful measures because they can provide us with clear steps to follow when providing care to patients, especially those with complex conditions, better engaging patients in the development of quality measures can ensure the focus is on what matters most to patients.

To encourage patient engagement, the National Health Council (NHC) launched an online educational series that focuses on why quality is important in the current health care environment and how patients and patient organizations can become strong advocates for quality. In addition, the NHC, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and National Quality Forum (NQF) recently announced they are partnering on a collaborative to create the Patient-Centered Engagement Rubric for Quality Measurement, which will offer health care stakeholders an opportunity to assess how well quality measures incorporate patient input in development and implementation.

“To be useful, quality measure development must meaningfully incorporate patient input,” Matthew Pickering, PharmD, PQA’s Director of Research and Quality Strategies, said in a blog post on PQA’s website announcing the new rubric. “Creating a patient-engagement rubric specific to quality measurement is an important step in the continuing shift to a health care system that is genuinely patient-centered.”

Quality measures quantify health care processes, outcomes, patient perceptions and systems associated with high-quality health care (e.g., effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered, equitable, timely care).  Quality measures and other quantifiable resources can be useful tools to address challenges in our current health care system and ensure patients are getting the high-value care that will help them. However, identifying which components of health care are considered high-quality, and how best to measure them, is an ongoing conversation.

Other organizations, including the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC), also have a keen interest in improving quality measures and outcomes. NPC is currently working on research examining patient-reported outcomes measures for oncology, following on to our two previous papers examining quality measurement, Accountable Care Measures for High-Cost Specialty Care and Innovative Treatment and Improving Oncology Quality Measurement in Accountable Care. Our 2014 conference, Mind the Gap: Improving Quality Measurement in Accountable Care Systems, demonstrated why quality measures matter, and our Q&A with the National Patient Advocate Foundation on incorporating what matters to patients in accountable care shows how NPC is continuing to explore how to make quality measures as patient-centered and effective as possible.

Visit NPC’s research library and blog to learn more about quality measurement, patient-centered health care, high-value care, and more.