Improving Health Care by Measuring It

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports the National Quality Forum (NQF)

Dates of Program: March 2007 to July 2013

Starting in 2007 and through mid-2013, RWJF supported the efforts of the National Quality Forum (NQF) to develop national priorities for improving the quality of health care along with new quality measures and Web-based tools for their implementation.

Key Results

  • Developing National Quality Priorities. The National Quality Strategy, released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services in March 2011, was strongly inclusive of the work of NQF’s National Priorities Partnership. The partnership continues to provide consultative support to the DHHS on national priorities and goals, as well as leadership in catalyzing action and public- and private-sector alignment around the National Quality Strategy.

    An independent evaluation of the National Priorities Partnership showed it achieved its goal of fostering the development of a set of national health care priorities via a consensus-based, multi-stakeholder process that included both the public and private sectors.
  • Filling gaps in health disparities measures. Working with subcontractors, NQF identified a set of 76 disparities-sensitive measures that should be routinely stratified and reported by race/ethnicity and language; spurred the creation of a cultural competency survey measure based on NQF-endorsed cultural competency practices; and endorsed 12 quality measures addressing health literacy, language access, cultural competency, leadership, and workforce development.
  • Building a Web-based toolkit. NQF created and tested three Web-based quality improvement measurement tools and resources:
    • Community Tool to Align Measurement—a crosswalk of measures developed in collaboration with the 16 RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) community alliances, supports decisions to align measurement and public reporting
    • Quality Positioning System (QPS)—a Web-based tool that enables users to search measures by categories, compare and export measure information, and create customized lists of measures for private or public collaboration
    • Field Guide to NQF Resources—a Web-based tool to help users more easily access basic information and NQF resources related to quality measurement
  • Addressing measurement Issues in payment reform. In 2011, NQF created the Measure Applications Partnership, a public-private partnership that reviews performance measures for potential use in federal public reporting and performance-based payment programs, while working to align measure used in public- and private-sector programs.

“RWJF support helped NQF get out of the ivory tower and get closer to the ground to see how measures are implemented...and to create tools that are more responsive to needs in the field.”—Anisha Dharshi, Senior Director, Stakeholder Collaboration, NQF

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NQF's Quality Positioning System & Community Tool to Align Measurement help measure quality of care.