Disparity, coordination measures get NQF blessing
The National Quality Forum endorsed 46 measures related to cancer care, care coordination, healthcare disparities and culturally competent care for racial and ethnic minorities. The 22 cancer measures—chosen from an initial group of 26—address several specific types of the disease, such as melanoma and prostate cancer, as well as overarching quality-related topics such as readmissions, palliative care and imaging use. The NQF also endorsed 12 care-coordination measures covering areas such as medication reconciliation, use of advance-care plans and providing healthcare across different settings. Fragmented care and poor communication are costly and can greatly increase the likelihood of adverse events, according to the organization, citing Institute of Medicine data estimating that care-coordination efforts could save as much as $240 billion annually. Dr. Donald Casey, co-chair of the care-coordination steering committee, said the measures are a good start toward improving continuity of care. “Even though we currently lack comprehensive quality measurements of effective care coordination, these endorsed measures help set the stage for the future,” said Casey, who until recently was chief medical officer and vice president for quality at three-hospital Atlantic Health, Morristown, N.J. The 12 additional measures addressing racial and ethnic disparities and culturally competent care mark the first time the NQF has looked specifically at such measures for endorsement. The measures pertain to health literacy, language services and patient engagement, among other topics.