We are at an inflection point in our efforts to measure the quality of U.S. health care.
Most medical professionals accept that rigorous quality measurement is essential to improving care and fundamental to transitioning the way we pay for health care. The question we face now is this: How should we measure quality in meaningful and efficient ways?
The answer could either smooth the transformation to a value-based delivery and payment system or continue to allow performance measurement to impose a significant roadblock to this transition to value.
I say “we” because physicians and other health care providers share ownership of this issue with patients, payers, and purchasers. In a recent speech to representatives of all four groups, Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called out the growing tension between patient-centered care and the administrative burdens that measurement imposes on physicians, hospitals, and health systems. Her diagnosis was spot on.
“We need to move from fee-for-service to a system that pays for value and quality ― but how we define value and quality today is a problem,” she said. “We all know it: Clinicians and hospitals have to report an array of measures to different payers. There are many steps involved in submitting them, taking time away from patients. Moreover, it’s not clear whether all of these measures are actually improving patient care.”
By: Jerry Penso