1. Wall Street Journal: If Only Health Care Would Focus On This One Thing, click here to view the article.
2. Modern Healthcare: Hard Work Ahead on Adopting Uniform Quality Measures, click here to view the article.
3. AHRQ Solicits Public Input on Patient Engagement and Other Quality Measures, click here to view the announcement.
4. For Physician Quality Measures, CMS Has Received the Message: Simpler is Better, click here to view the article.
5. HealthExec: Study Examines First 6 Rounds of PCORI Funding, click here to view the article.
6. PCORI Videos: Changing the Conversation on Healthcare Research; Beyond Funding Research, click here and here to view the videos.
7. Medpage: Coalition of Healthcare Leaders Urges 6 Key Reforms, including Patient Engagement, click here to view article.
As Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal of UC San Francisco commented last week in the Wall Street Journal, “Health care’s ‘quadruple aim’ calls for doing better with patients, quality, cost and clinicians. But when everything is important, then nothing is. To transform itself, health care needs to pick one aim as a so-called ‘keystone habit.’ … In health care, our keystone habit should be taking the patient’s perspective. If we could develop the habit of always seeing health care from the perspective of the patient, we would have one guiding principle – not four – for the tough decisions and trade-offs that need to be made as we reform health care. How long should patients have to wait to make an appointment? It is worth investing in email communication systems with patients? If the response is governed by balancing patient experience, quality measurements, costs considerations and worker satisfaction, the answer gets complicated. If instead we habitually ask, ‘What do I want when I’m a patient?’ the answer is clear… Health care needs to be redesigned so that patients’ health and experience comes first. That’s where the first dollars should go, not the last ones.” Click here to view the article.
2. Modern Healthcare: Hard Work Ahead on Adopting Uniform Quality Measures
An article in Modern Healthcare reported last week that “for more than a year, top officials from Medicare, the nation's largest health plans, medical societies and major employer and consumer groups hammered away at a dreadful task: Get everyone to agree to use identical quality measures for the treatment of heart disease, cancer and other common conditions. Previous attempts have failed, but this one did not. Participants of this effort, called the Core Measure Quality Collaborative , announced the first fruits of their work on Tuesday. Now the real negotiations begin… Whether the new standards are widely adopted will depend on public rulemaking and the degree to which standards are included in contracts hammered out by health plans, physicians and hospitals. Though widely endorsed, the switch to the consensus measures in commercial plans is voluntary… Policymakers, industry officials, consumer advocates and quality experts are all embracing the new standards as an important step. But they also agree that much more research is needed to improve and expand the quality metrics used in healthcare. ‘This was essentially the first cut,’ [Aenta’s Andrew] Baskin said… Another reason so many different quality metrics are in play is that insurers and doctors try to incorporate measures that reflect the needs of a particular patient population or drive certain quality improvement efforts.” Click here to view the article.
3. AHRQ Solicits Public Input on Patient Engagement and Other Quality Measures
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requests information from the public about quality improvement measures designed for health care organizations to monitor initiatives aimed at: (1) improving patient understanding of health information; (2) simplifying navigation of health care systems and facilities and; (3) enhancing patients’ ability to manage their health.
AHRQ is interested in measures that do not require patient survey data that organizations are currently using or have used in the past. The agency is also interested in information about measures under development or that are suggested for future development. Quality improvement measures should belong to one of the following domains: (1) Communication, (2) Ease of Navigation, (3) Patient Engagement and Self-Management, and (4) Organizational Structure, Policy, and Leadership.
The Request for Measures, AHRQ says, is part of a broader project that seeks to identify existing measures related to the four above domains and to establish a set of measures for more formal development and testing. Input on the measures is solicited from public stakeholders including “health care delivery organizations, health information developers, payers, quality measure developers, clinicians, and health care consumers.” Comments are due by March 4, 2016. Click here to view the announcement.
4. For Physician Quality Measures, CMS Has Received the Message: Simpler is Better
As Healthcare Informatics editor Rajiv Leventhal commented last week, “I recently read a fantastic article in the New England Journal of Medicine about standardizing patient outcome measures, with the broad purpose of the piece to urge federal healthcare bodies to agree on and implement streamlined patient outcome measures for each medical condition. Indeed, the authors of the piece [a]ttested that as healthcare shifts from the volume of services delivered to the value created for patients, measurement of outcomes that matter to patients, aside from survival, still remains limited. They noted that of the 1,958 quality indicators in the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse, for example, only 139 (7 percent) actually measure outcomes, and only 32 (less than 2 percent) measure patient-reported outcomes. Defaulting to measurement of discrete processes is understandable, given the historical organization of healthcare delivery around specialty services and fee-for-service payments, the authors wrote… In a teleconference call announcing the [Core Measure Quality] Collaborative on Feb. 16, [CMS’ Andy] Slavitt said, per media reports, ‘People in healthcare universally ask for one thing: simplify, simplify, simplify.’ Finally, as the NEJM authors unintentionally foreshadowed, simplification could be upon us.” Click here to view the article.
5. HealthExec: Study Examines First 6 Rounds of PCORI Funding
Michael Walter reported last week in HealthExec, “‘Primary care is the cornerstone of where patients seek care, accounting for fully 50 percent of all doctor's visits,’ Daniel Merenstein, MD, GUMC director of research programs in the department of family medicine, said in a prepared statement. ‘We've reported data that at times showed PCORI funding is clearly supporting its mission of impacting the patient care experience, while other data pointed towards funding not supportive of that mission. Overall the record we are seeing from PCORI is a mixed bag, and while we're not shocked that primary care is not better represented, it's still very disappointing,’ Merenstein said in the same statement.” Click here to view the article.
6. PCORI Videos: Changing the Conversation on Healthcare Research; Beyond Funding Research
“PCORI has created a cultural shift in healthcare research, away from merely interesting questions toward important ones. Danielle Lavallee, PhD, PharmD, a researcher at the University of Washington and recipient of a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, talks about how PCORI is changing conversations for researchers.” Click here to view the video.
“The Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards focus on elements critical to patient-centered research that aren't research itself, explains Danielle Lavallee, PhD, PharmD, a researcher at the University of Washington.” Click here to view the video.
7. Medpage: Coalition of Healthcare Leaders Urges 6 Key Reforms, Including Patient Engagement
Medpage Today reports that some basic health system reforms -- including better care planning, increased patient engagement, and improved interoperability -- can and should be implemented immediately, according to the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC). The council -- a diverse coalition of payers, providers, patient advocates, and vendors -- released a report outlining six "viable solutions" for improving the healthcare system. Click here to view the article.