Issue Brief: Performance Measurement and Quality Improvement

When Americans go to the doctor, it's essentially a coin toss as to whether they'll receive the care medical experts recommend for their conditions. Measuring the quality of care is a critical starting point to close these gaps. After all, we cannot improve what we do not measure. Publicly reporting about the performance of physician practices allows patients to make informed choices about their care, helps health care professionals see where they can improve, and allows purchasers to know the value of the care they are buying.

This issue brief examines lessons from RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality alliances that have made information about the quality of care local physicians provide publicly available to everyone who gets, gives, or pays for care.

Key Lessons

  • Physician practices can use publicly reported information about the quality of care in their community to compare their performance to their peers and standards of care, which in turn can motivate them to improve.

  • Public reports and quality improvement initiatives developed by multistakeholder groups have greater credibility and capacity to spur improvement.

  • Regional health improvement collaboratives can use public reports to identify top performers and enable providers to share best practices.