The push toward accountability Featured

9:55am EDT July 22, 2002

The nation’s three leading health care quality oversight organizations are working together to develop a common measurement agenda and integrate measure development efforts to promote greater accountability in health care.

The American Medical Accreditation Program, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Committee for Quality Assurance are trying to make performance measurement more efficient and coherent across all levels of the health care system.

Closer collaboration among the organizations should significantly reduce the cost and effort required for collecting performance data, a long-standing concern of many in the health care system.

Currently, the three groups define performance measurement at their respective levels of the health care system. Consequently, each organization supports its own measure development efforts, often at great expense, and often drawing on the same pool of intellectual talent as the other organizations.

Integrating the development efforts will not only streamline the process and save money, but also produce better, more applicable measures that relate to each other and describe expectations for accountability at these different levels of the system, whether it’s measuring physicians, hospital or plan performance.

  • The AMAP — sponsored by the American Medical Association — is designed to enhance the health of the public by setting standards and improving the performance of individual physicians, while replacing the duplicative and fragmented patchwork of existing physician review and assessment programs.

  • The JCAHO’s mission is to improve the quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The commission evaluates and accredits almost 20,000 health care organizations and programs, including hospitals, and other health care providers.

  • The NCQA is a nonprofit watchdog organization that is widely recognized as the leader in the effort to assess, measure and report on the quality of care provided by the nation’s managed care organizations. More than three quarters of Americans enrolled in HMOs are in health plans that have been reviewed by the NCQA.