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Press Release Date: November 29, 1996
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) announced
today that it has awarded a
contract to MEDSTAT, worth up to $5 million over three years, to
develop the Quality Measurement
The goal of the QMNet project is to create a quality measurement
information resource through a
collaboration between the public and private sectors. QMNet will
build on the framework of AHCPR's
prototype CONQUEST 1.0 (Computerized Needs-Oriented Quality
Measurement Evaluation System), a
landmark computer tool designed to make it easier for health
plans, providers and purchasers to identify,
choose and use clinical performance measures.
"Our goal is for QMNet to become a comprehensive, publicly
accessible quality measurement resource
that helps both the public and private sectors to improve the
quality of care delivered in this nation,"
said AHCPR Administrator Clifton R. Gaus, Sc.D. "Our hope is that
QMNet ultimately may aid in the
creation of a free-standing quality network."
Currently, CONQUEST is the only available automated source of
information on clinical performance
measures, including whether the measure is an outcomes or process
gauge, the type of review for which
the measure was developed, the extent of validity and reliability
testing which the measure has
undergone, and the level of care or setting for which the measure
was developed. QMNet will provide
far more detailed and comprehensive information on a wider range
of clinical performance measures.
Additionally, QMNet will provide extensive information on a
greater number of medical conditions,
including age groups affected, prevalence, utilization and costs,
potentially preventable adverse
outcomes, co-morbidities, risk factors, and clinical services
recommended or not on the basis of
scientifically based guidelines. In 1997, QMNet will begin
releasing semiannual updates of this
MEDSTAT and its subcontractors, the Harvard School of Public
Health and Mikalix, will evaluate the
extent to which the structure of CONQUEST meets the clinical
performance measurement needs of
public- and private-sector users; identify and evaluate
additional measures and measure sets to be added
to the measures database; and identify gaps in measure sets and
areas of clinical performance
measurement that need additional research and development.
As part of QMNet, the contractors will
provide technical assistance to users—via phone, Internet
and mail support—on the most effective
ways to use the databases.
To ensure that QMNet meets the needs of its intended audience,
AHCPR has entered into a partnership
with other leaders in the field of quality measurement: the
Foundation for Accountability (FACCT), the
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
(JCAHO) and the National Committee
for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The partners will advise MEDSTAT
on the technical development of
"QMNet offers an exciting opportunity to create an organized,
user-friendly, scientifically sound
database of performance measures that can serve as a national
resource for accrediting bodies and other
major measurement purveyors in health care," said Dennis O'Leary,
JCAHO president. "As such, it
evaluates and fosters the efficient use of performance measures
by health care organizations."
MEDSTAT also is charged with developing a feasibility study that
may help transform QMNet into a
private-sector, self-supporting entity at the end of the contract
"QMNet ultimately will give purchasers an easily accessible,
up-to-date resource for identifying and
selecting performance measures that reflect consumers'
perspectives and accurately gauge whether the
health care services they buy provide the best value," said David
Lansky, president of FACCT. "The
importance of a resource like this cannot be understated as
health care costs continue to rise and
demands on purchasers grow."
"QMNet will be invaluable in ensuring that science-based measures
and other tools for improving
quality of care will reach as wide an audience as possible,"
according to NCQA President Peggy
O'Kane. "NCQA will make HEDIS an integral part of QMNet and any
quality network that may
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a part of the
U.S. Public Health Service, is the lead
agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the
quality of health care, reduce its cost
and enhance access to essential services. AHCPR's broad programs
of research and technology assessment
bring practical, science-based
information to medical practitioners and to consumers and other
health care purchasers.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen J. Migdail, (301) 427-1855; Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.