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Putting Measurement to Work: Improving the Quality of Health Care Delivered to Adults

Can Measurement Improve Health Care?


Ravi I. Singh, Director, Consumer Communications Program, Foundation for Accountability (FACCT).

Adults vary significantly in terms of type, scope, duration, and complexity of health care needs. Mr. Singh of the FACCT Consumer Communications Program reported that adults with special health care needs account for the majority of health care costs. Focusing on their needs offers the greatest savings potential. Performance measurement, used in combination with evidence-based research, can target areas with the greatest opportunities for improving the quality of care.

States can use performance measurement for several purposes. Several speakers explained that most States have used them for more than one of the following purposes:

  • To design service delivery systems that respond to the special needs of adults. States can use measurement to understand the cause(s) of persistent problems and develop systems of care or provider networks that can better meet adults' needs. Measurement can help to identify providers and geographic areas where problems are most pronounced.
  • To create incentive payments based on performance. Measures must be relevant to the provider, within the provider's power to achieve, and relevant to the desired outcome.
  • To design and implement collaborative quality improvement strategies. Performance measures selected through a consensus process can provide a springboard for working across providers and systems of care to affect positive change and improve outcomes.
  • To produce educational materials. Consumers can be directed to providers and service organizations that have demonstrated superior service quality based on performance measurement results.

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