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National Quality Forum

Health Care

NQF Endorses Standards for Hospital Care

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 - 22:00

(NQF: Washington, D.C.) -- Recognizing that patient safety remains a major hurdle in the United States, the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed 48 voluntary consensus standards focused on measuring the performance of acute-care hospitals, including measures addressing pediatric safety, hospital readmission, and prevention and care of venous thromboembolism.

“It has been difficult to make real progress in patient safety in this country, despite the efforts of many highly skilled, committed professionals and innovations in technology and treatment,” says Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum. “In part, that is because we are all using different yardsticks to measure safety, which makes it difficult to identify and focus efforts on areas most in need of improvement and to measure and quantify progress. NQF-endorsed standards represent consensus of the experts and leaders from all corners of the healthcare industry, and can make a significant difference in helping hospitals measure what matters most to truly improve hospital care.”

The set of hospital measures endorsed will facilitate broad-based quality improvement by targeting numerous safety and quality issues within hospitals. Given the growing concerns with readmissions in America, particularly in the Medicare population, these important measures will help track progress toward improved transitions in care.

Most of the newly endorsed measures, the Quality Indicators, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), specifically offer hospitals an opportunity to pinpoint safety issues with measurement driven by readily available administrative data, rather than medical record reviews.

Carolyn Clancy, M.D., director of AHRQ, believes the new measures can have a real impact. “Through public reporting,” says Dr. Clancy, “these measures should offer needed guidance to purchasers and consumers seeking information about hospitals, as well as an opportunity for benchmarking to peers in the marketplace.”

Six of the measures target the most common preventable cause of hospital death—venous thromboembolism (VTE), focusing on hospitals; with one measure extending the focus to readiness of patients for discharge. These newly endorsed measures further fill out NQF’s portfolio of VTE measures and practices, including two previously endorsed Safe Practices.

For further information, visit www.qualityforum.org/news/releases/051508-endorsed-measures.asp.

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National Quality Forum

The National Quality Forum (NQF) operates under a three-part mission to improve the quality of American health care: setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs. In 2008, NQF convened the National Priorities Partnership, a collaborative effort of 32 major national organizations that collectively influence every part of the health care system. By focusing on high-leverage priorities and goals and taking collective action to reach them, the partnership strives to transform health care from the inside out, where it has the best chance to succeed.