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The Joint Commission Urges Development of a National Performance Measurement Data Strategy

Expert Roundtable Calls for Action to Improve Quality, Accountability

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care organizations, practitioners, purchasers, oversight bodies and the public all rely on performance data to determine priority areas for quality improvement, evaluate performance, and make informed health care decisions. Yet, most performance measurement efforts operate in isolation from one another, rarely provide a consistent picture of overall quality, and represent a significant cost to the health care industry, according to a call for action released today by The Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission's newest public policy white paper, "Development of a National Performance Measurement Data Strategy," proposes a framework for creating a data infrastructure to support performance measurement activities that improve the quality of American health care. The detailed solutions, proposed by a special Joint Commission expert Roundtable, focus on creating a data infrastructure that addresses consumer expectations for data privacy, supporting a data highway that allows for data sharing and linkages, and operating under an agreed-upon set of rules and governance structure.

"The time has come to harness the many performance measurement efforts by creating a data infrastructure so information can be shared and translated into powerful tools for decision-making and improvement," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H. "Although there are significant challenges, the work of the Roundtable clearly shows that this is a matter of will. We must invest the necessary resources and engage in a collaborative effort to provide credible, accurate and useful health care performance information."

The Joint Commission expert Roundtable offers 22 principles for the development of a national performance measurement data strategy, and identifies the following three broad strategies to guide national performance measurement efforts:

-- Create the framework for a national performance measurement system that meets the needs of all of the various users of, and stakeholders in, performance data by standardizing measure definitions and data collection processes to produce comparable information. A national system for performance measurement data should be assured through sustainable funding from private and public-sector sources.

-- Build a data highway to support the exchange of health information whose interoperability permits data exchange and aggregation when warranted. Information technology systems, such as electronic medical records, must be designed to support performance measurement activities and relieve registered nurses and other clinicians from the burden of manually paging through patient records to obtain needed data.

-- Engage stakeholders and engender trust by addressing concern over the privacy of personal health information. Rules and principles must effectively focus on data use, integrity and reporting. Significant attention also must be paid to educating patients on the options and risks inherent in data sharing, and the value of performance measurement.

"The proposals put forth by the Roundtable aim to break down the barriers to achieving a national strategy," says Eric B. Larson, M.D., M.P.H., Roundtable co-chair and member of The Joint Commission's Board of Commissioners. "With the explosion of performance measurement efforts, the ability to share and merge data has become crucial to developing consistent and true assessments of care."

The Joint Commission promotes effective use of performance measurement through its accreditation standards and requirements, public reporting of performance data for accredited hospitals on its Quality Check website, and participation in the Hospital Quality Alliance's Hospital Compare data reporting collaboration. Today, more than 90 percent of the data on Hospital Compare is derived from the hospital data reported to The Joint Commission as part of its expectations of accredited hospitals.

A complete copy of the Joint Commission white paper, "Health Care at the Crossroads: Development of a National Performance Measurement Data Strategy," is available at The report is part of a continuing series of white papers on key public policy issues that impact patient safety and health care quality.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and 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 Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,300 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

SOURCE Joint Commission on Accreditation of HealthcareOrganizations
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