Testing a Way to Measure Quality

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is developing a new approach to measuring quality. The goal is to provide a more sensitive gauge of risk factors that will make it possible to create clinically meaningful incentives for providers to improve disease prevention.

Under a grant from RWJF, NCQA will evaluate a new measurement tool that focuses on improving the health outcomes of patients with heart disease and diabetes. The “Global Cardiovascular Risk” (GCVR) score, co-developed by NCQA and Archimedes, Inc., is considered the next generation quality improvement tool to measure how well providers can reduce the risk of future adverse outcomes such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetic complications in the populations they serve.

The traditional approach to quality measurement focuses on processes of care and reaching clinically artificial treatment goals for biomarkers, rather than the actual disease outcomes. Traditional care provides little quantitative information about the outcomes that actually occur based on the care patients receive.

In contrast, the GCVR measures how much patients and their risk for future adverse health outcomes has been reduced. Unlike current measures, that focus on a particular process or biomarker, the GCVR measure is a single metric that captures what every provider can do to prevent adverse outcomes and presented in a medically and clinically realistic way.

Over the next 18 months, NCQA will evaluate the feasibility of extracting the electronic health data it needs to calculate the measure from a number of health systems and health plans that use EHRs from around the country. NCQA is now in the process of recruiting organizations to participate. The data collection and analysis will occur over the summer and fall of 2013 and findings are expected to be reported by the summer of 2014.

For more information, go to www.ncqa.org or to www.rwif.org. The Foundation is on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or Facebook at www.rwif.org/facebook.

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