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AQA Invitational Meeting Summary
Report on the Formation and Workplan of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee
Carolyn Clancy, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Peter Lee, Pacific Business Group on Health
Janet Corrigan, National Quality Forum
Carolyn Clancy discussed the formation of the Quality Alliance Steering
Committee, noting that both the AQA and the HQA have been working to ensure
that Americans will have useful information on health care available through
the Internet. She said that the new Quality Alliance Steering Committee announced
on July 21 that it will work closely with both CMS and AHRQ. She indicated
that the committee's first task would be to coordinate and expand the existing
pilot projects. Doing so will combine both public and private information
to measure and report on performance in a way that is fully transparent and
meaningful to all stakeholders. All information about the specific activities
of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee can be found at www.aqaalliance.org.
Clancy noted that there were a number of questions that needed to be addressed,
including how to get to better quality and meaningful reporting and who would
pay for it.
The Quality Alliance Steering Committee held its first meeting on August
4. As a result of that initial meeting, Clancy reported, five workgroups
are being established that will help focus attention on particular efforts
that are needed to accomplish the goals set forth by the committee. The five
- Pilot Expansion Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup is to
focus on expanding the number and scope of AQA pilot sites. The workgroup
is charged with developing a plan for expansion that includes both ambulatory
and hospital care along with the ability to assess quality across episodes
of care. The group also will develop criteria that will be used for selection
and prioritization of additional sites for pilot expansion.
- Measure Harmonization Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup
is to focus on identifying measures where measure specifications are different
and thereby develop a plan to reconcile measurement specifications/definitions
across ambulatory and hospital settings. The plan should include methods/processes
for ongoing harmonization of measures across settings as well as a way
to refresh the measures and retire them.
- Pilot Infrastructure Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup
is to focus on identifying ways to provide infrastructure support to the
pilot sites. This workgroup may investigate existing avenues, such as the
quality improvement organizations, contractors, and local support that
could sustain the pilot sites. In addition, the workgroup is charged with
developing a plan to track and provide ongoing evaluation of the pilot
sites. This plan will include data collection and aggregation.
- Efficiency/Episodes of Care Workgroup (just getting off the ground)—The
objective of this workgroup is to focus on developing a comprehensive approach
to efficiency that will include examination of the overall system as well
as of group and individual physicians. In order to penetrate the issue
of efficiency, episodes of care need to be evaluated. The workgroup will
develop a plan to evaluate episodes of care and efficiency of services
as well as primary responsibilities for the care provided (i.e., system,
physician, or jointly between physician and system).
- Cost-Pricing Transparency Workgroup (also just getting off the ground)—The
objective of this workgroup is to focus on the costs of care and reporting
the costs/price of care to the public. The workgroup will investigate the
issues surrounding reporting costs/pricing to consumers and develop a plan
to implement reporting in these areas.