Evaluating the Efficiency of Medical Care

Establishing national goals and an accountability framework for public reporting of health care performance data

During 2007–2009, staff at the National Quality Forum convened a steering committee to create a measurement framework for evaluating the efficiency of medical care given to a patient during an episode of care. An episode of care as defined by the National Quality Forum is:

a series of temporally contiguous healthcare services related to the treatment of a given spell of illness or provided in response to a specific request by the patient or other relevant entity. (Other relevant entity refers to anyone involved in a patient's care, such as a caregiver, physician or hospital.)

Key Results:

  • The National Quality Forum created a measurement framework to "help key stakeholders move toward a high-performing healthcare system that is patient-centered, focused on quality, mindful of costs and vigilant against waste." The forum described the framework in Measurement Framework: Evaluating Efficiency Across Patient-Focused Episodes of Care (2009).
  • With funding from The Commonwealth Fund, the National Quality Forum applied the measurement framework to care for heart attack and low back pain.
  • With other funding, the National Quality Forum applied the measurement framework to other diseases and to Medicare beneficiaries.