May 23—Promoting a healthcare system that rewards performance improvement requires substantial investments in the underlying science of performance measurement, greater care in communicating measurement results, greater attention to the role of measures in quality improvement efforts, and the use of performance data in more strategic ways, according to an Urban Institute report.

The report, Achieving the Potential of Health Care Performance Measures: Timely Analysis of Immediate Health Policy Issues, makes the following recommendations: 

  • Decisively move from measuring processes to outcomes.
  • Use quality measures strategically, adopting other quality improvement approaches where measures fall short.
  • Measure quality at the level of the organization, not the clinician.
  • Measure patient experience with care and patient-reported outcomes as ends in themselves.
  • Use measurement to promote the concept of the rapid-learning healthcare system.
  • Invest in the “basic science” of measurement development.
  • Assign a single entity the task of defining standards for measuring and reporting quality and cost data—similar to the role the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) serves for the reporting of corporate financial data—to improve the validity, comparability, and transparency of publicly reported healthcare quality data.

Publication Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013