National Quality Forum Started to Standardize Health Care Quality Measures

From 1998 to 2000, a 20-member Forum Planning Committee appointed by Vice President Al Gore planned and established the National Forum for Health Care Quality Measurement and Reporting (now called the National Quality Forum).

As the nation's first nonprofit, membership-based, standard-setting body for health care quality, the forum has the goal of changing how health care quality information is collected and used in the United States.

Key Results

  • The National Quality Forum accomplished the following:

    • Developed a formal Consensus Development Process, which assures that the standards it adopts and puts forth are "voluntary consensus standards."
    • Applied its Consensus Development Process in the development of six consensus reports.
      • Serious Reportable Events in Healthcare identifies 27 adverse events that are "serious, largely preventable, and of concern to both the public and health care providers."
      • A National Framework for Healthcare Quality Measurement and Reporting "provides short-term operational guidance that will be used when selecting performance measures;... identifies longer-term strategic areas that the [National Quality Forum] will pursue; and sets forth policy statements that are important to improving healthcare quality."
      • National Voluntary Consensus Standards for Adult Diabetes Care categorizes consensus standards by area (e.g., urine protein testing, eye examination) and includes both external and internal quality measures.
      • A Comprehensive Framework for Hospital Care Performance Evaluation gives "guiding principles for hospital measurement and reporting that can be uniformly adopted and applied by hospitals, regulators and other stakeholders in order to standardize these essential activities."
      • Safe Practices for Better Healthcare "details 30 healthcare practices that should be universally utilized in applicable clinical care settings to reduce the risk of harm to patients."
      • National Voluntary Consensus Standards for Hospital Care: An Initial Performance Measurement Set, according to the forum, provides the "first-ever set of nationally standardized measures to assess the quality of care provided by the more than 6,000 acute care hospitals in the U.S."