NCQA Identifies Opportunities to Implement Measurements to Assess the Quality of Care for Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

Identifying potential quality measurement approaches for childhood obesity

From December 2005 through December 2006, staff at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) reviewed published information and clinical guidelines, and consulted with childhood obesity experts, to identify potential quality measures that could be incorporated into HEDIS and used to improve the prevention, assessment and management of childhood and adolescent obesity.

HEDIS (the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set) is the premier tool for measuring the quality of care in health plans.

Key Results

The NCQA staff:

  • Identified and abstracted existing clinical guidelines for the prevention, assessment and management of childhood and adolescent obesity. They also created a method (often called a "crosswalk") to prioritize key aspects of care that would foster improved quality through focused measurement.
  • Identified a clinical algorithm developed by the National Institute for Children's Healthcare Quality. This algorithm offers a succinct, graphic depiction of the steps involved in preventing obesity and managing care for overweight children.
  • Tested quality measures based on the clinical guidelines crosswalk and algorithm after the grant ended. The measures were subsequently published as part of HEDIS. Health plans are expected to begin collecting relevant data in 2009.