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Institute of Medicine news: Report on health care performance

WASHINGTON -- If pay-for-performance initiatives and public reporting systems are to be effective in improving the quality of health care in the United States, a comprehensive, universally accepted system is needed to measure and report on the performance of health care providers and organizations, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Congress should establish a new board within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate the development of standardized performance measures and monitor the nation's progress toward improving the health care system, said the committee that wrote the congressionally mandated report.

"Performance measures are a fundamental building block for all quality improvement initiatives," said committee chair Steven Schroeder, professor of health and health care, University of California, San Francisco. "One of the biggest obstacles to overcoming shortfalls in the quality of health care is the absence of a coherent, national system for assessing and reporting on the performance of providers and organizations. Leadership at the federal level is necessary to ensure that the effort to develop performance measures achieves overarching national goals for health care improvement."

Improving quality of care has become a top priority for all stakeholders in the health care system. Performance measures are benchmarks by which health care providers and organizations can determine their success in delivering care for example, regular blood and urine tests for diabetic patients, a facility's 30-day survival rate among cardiac bypass patients, or perceptions of care collected from patient surveys.

Many individual public and private organizations including health plans, professional organizations, and consumer advocates have made substantial progress developing measures that cover important areas of clinical care, organizational performance, and patients' perceptions of
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
1-Dec-2005


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