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Share and compare: NQF launches new query tool for quality measures

Hospitals and providers looking to meet the requirements for meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology must report on a certain number of quality measures. Most of the quality measures required for the meaningful use incentive program are endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF), a nonprofit health standards organization. The measures required for meaningful use have been retooled to allow the information to be aggregated electronically.

NQF-endorsed quality measures are also used for other reasons, such as driving quality improvement and influencing payment for health care services. To help clinicians compare measures and share quality measure reporting practices, the NQF has launched a beta version of the Quality Positioning System (QPS) tool, which allows users to search for NQF-endorsed measures quickly and easily. The tool offers some big improvements over the original list of quality measures posted on the NQF web site, which offers a rudimentary search function.

The new QPS tool — available to the public — allows users to:

  • Refine search results based on a number of criteria, including by measure type and target population;
  • Compare up to three measures side by side;
  • Give feedback on measures, or contact the measure steward;
  • Create portfolios — or lists — of measures that can be kept private or shared publicly; and
  • Get email updates on measures and portfolios.

In a webinar to introduce the new tool, speakers emphasized the importance of getting feedback on both the tool and the measures. A prominent “Give Feedback” button offers users an easy way to make suggestions or provide opinions on the tool, and the quality measure details page also offers a feedback button. Feedback provided on an individual quality measure is sent to the NQF, and is also shared with the measure steward.

Perhaps the most exciting capability of the QPS tool is the portfolio function. A portfolio is a list of measures, which can be created by anyone with a QPS login. The portfolio can be kept private so only the logged-in creator can view or edit it, and users can be invited to collaborate on the portfolio.

The portfolio can also be made public, and the NQF hopes users will create and share these, to encourage collaboration and communication around the use of quality measures. Users can compare up to three portfolios side by side, and can subscribe to portfolios to keep on top of any changes or updates made by the administrator. Additionally, the quality measure description page lists all the portfolios that include the measure, providing new insight into who is using the measure and how it’s being used.

The QPS tool is currently in beta mode, and NQF officials would like to allow some time for users to play around with the tool before making any upgrades. New functionality will be added and improvements made based on user feedback — however, the NQF’s ability to upgrade the tool will depend on ongoing funding and support.

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