of the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force (QuIC)
On behalf of
Secretary Alexis Herman, my co-chair of the Quality Interagency
Coordination Task Force (QuIC) and myself, I would like to update
you on the progress of the QuIC. You directed us to convene the
QuIC to further the recommendations of your Advisory Commission
on consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry.
We are very pleased and proud to report that the QuICin existence
only a little longer than a yearalready has proven to be valuable
and successful means of coordinating Federal efforts to improve
the quality of health care services provided in this Nation. We
are very confident that the work of the QuIC and its extraordinary
collaboration will serve as a model for the private sector.
As you noted
in March 1998, Federal agencies with health care responsibilities
exert significant power in the health care industry, and working
together they cold improve the quality of health care for all Americans.
Since they first met in May 1998, the Cabinet Departments and Agencies
participating in the QuICDepartments of Defense, Veterans
Affairs, Labor, Commerce, and Health and Human Services, and the
Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget,
the Coast Guard, the Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Trade Commission
and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationhave
proven to be deeply committed to ensuring that we provide or purchase
high quality health care services. Dr. John Eisenberg, Administrator
of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, serves as Operating
Chair of the QuIC.
The QuIC has
identified five areas that are common to the mission of each agency
and that are of profound significance to improved health care quality:
1) providing patients and consumers with information to assist in
their choices; 2) pursuing key opportunities for clinical quality
improvement; 3) enhancing quality measurement; 4) developing the
workforce; and 5) improving information systems. A multi-agency
work group has been assigned to each of these areas to develop innovative
projects that will achieve its goals. Health care leaders in each
agencyand the QuIC as a full bodymeet periodically to
steer the actions of the work groups and ensure that participating
agencies are aware of and contribute to the projects.
The QuIC can
already boast a number of significant achievements. We would like
to highlight a few:
Care: The QuIC has greatly enhanced Federal collaboration
on the Diabetes Quality Improvement Project (DQIP). This is particularly
evident in three areas:
the auspices of the QuIC, a number of Federal agencies are
collaborating on the creation of a common clinical practice
guideline to improve diabetes care. These agencies will use
the guideline to improve the performance of providers.
- A conference
was held in August to share specific successful strategies
for improving diabetes care. The attendees were organizations
seeking to improve their current practices. The QuIC agencies
brought their success stories and strategies to this conference.
- The QuIC
is seeking a broad agreement among Federal agencies to collect
and report the performance of providers using diabetes measures
developed by DQIP to judge the quality of clinical care.
Medical Errors: The QuIC is working with the Institute for
Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to create an initiative that will
test several strategies for rapidly reducing the number of medical
errors committed in "high-hazard" health care settings, including
emergency rooms, intensive care units, and on-site rescue operations,
around the country. Based on the results of previous IHI initiatives,
we hope that some sites will be able to achieve reductions of
25 to 30 percent in the number of errors within 12 to 15 months.
Information Available to Consumers: The QuIC has aided the
Federal Trade Commission in augmenting its Consumer.gov web site
to include information on health care quality. Through this gateway,
the QuIC now links to all of the Federal sites that provide information
to assist people in making choices about their health care plans
and providers, including information on the quality of health
plans for Medicare beneficiaries, Federal employees, and participants
in DoD's Tricare plans. There are also links to the Department
of Labor's health benefits education campaign to help people understand
what they are getting and what their rights are.
- A Glossary
of Commonly Used Terms. The QuIC agencies realized that there
could be great benefit to the American people if we could agree
to reduce the chance of confusion by using the same terms to mean
the same things in our public communications. A set of terms has
been developed and is being circulated to the Federal agencies
to solicit their agreement to use the terms. We expect to have
that agreement in October.
report includes more detail on these
and other accomplishments of the QuIC. We would be pleased to brief
you on the work of QuIC to date and its plans for the future.
of the Quality Interagency Task Force as of September 21, 1999
to QuIC Home Page
Department of Health and Human Services