Monday Musings

On Mondays in the month of June I am focusing on the way that quality measures will be used to evaluate practitioner performance inside and outside a healthcare organization, including compensation packages and contracted rates with payers. There are thousands of measures within the healthcare system developed by a wide variety of organizations. It has been suggested that widespread application of a limited set of standardized measures could “reduce the burden of unnecessary measurement” and align incentives with the kind of performance that matters most. On April 18th The Institute of Medicine released 15 core standard measures aimed at making it easier to compare health care outcomes across the country and health care settings. The report acknowledges that while many of these measures provide useful information, their sheer number and lack of focus, consistency, and organization, limits their effectiveness in improving the performance of the health system.

The IOM stated that to achieve better health at lower cost, all stakeholders—meaning health professionals, payers, policy makers, and members of the public—“must be alert to which measures matter most.” The core measures selected by the IOM are: life expectancy, well-being, obesity, addiction, unintended pregnancy, health community, preventive services, access to care, patient safety, evidence-based care, care matching with patients’ goals, personal spending, population spending, individual engagement and community. These are indeed worthy quality indicators, but most of them are not relevant to a wound care practitioner. What should we do about that?