Improving Quality in a Time of Change

John R. Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Care Group, presented at the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement convened by the American Medical Association in Chicago on March 20, 2009.

Lumpkin emphasized the need for quality measuring and reporting as being central to the effort to improve the quality of health care provided to Americans. He noted that quality initiatives cannot be achieved "without a coherent, robust, integrated performance measurement system that is purposeful, comprehensive, efficient and transparent."

Lumpkin addressed the fact that: only one in three doctors gets performance data; one in four gets patient survey data; one in five gets process-of-care data; fewer than one in five receives data on clinical outcomes; and only one in seven solo practitioners has access to any data on quality.

Lumpkin also outlined RWJF's Aligning Forces for Quality program, pointing out the need to standarize measures, as well as to "engage doctors and other practitioners to use this information to improve the quality of the care for their patients—the outcome that matters most."