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Health Information Technology and Quality

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What is the difference between performance measurement and QI?

The National Quality Center noted the distinction between performance measurement and quality improvement.  According to the National Quality Center:

“Measurement provides objective and quantitative values to subjective experiences.  Performance measurement enables quality improvement, and the desire to improve quality informs performance measurement.  The two are dependent on each other.  Only data can tell whether improvements are made.”

-National Quality Center- Acting on Measurement and Data in Quality Improvement - Overview

According to the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse, a measure is a mechanism to assign a quantity to an attribute by comparison to a criterion.  A clinical performance measure is a subtype of quality measure that is a mechanism for assessing the degree to which a provider competently and safely delivers clinical services that are appropriate for the patient in the optimal time period.  Quality measure is a mechanism to assign a quantity to quality of care by comparison to a criterion.

“The only way to know whether the quality of care is improving is to measure performance.”

-The Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Performance measurement enables quality improvement through the measurement of performance based upon quality indicators.  Thus, performance measurement can lead to quality monitoring.  Data collected through quality monitoring can then be used by physicians and others to improve quality in various ways.  This process is exemplified in a study of commercial HMOs in the American Journal of Managed Care go to exit disclaimer, in which the health plans measured performance based on quality metrics.  These quality measures were gathered on the individual physician or group level and were used for quality improvement activities.

Related Resources:

Performance Measurement: Accelerating Improvement go to exit disclaimer- Institute of Medicine 
Measure to Improve go to exit disclaimer- American Academy of Family Physicians
Quality Monitoring and Management in Commercial Health Plans go to exit disclaimer- American Journal of Managed Care
Performance Measurement in Search of a Path  go to exit disclaimer- New England Journal of Medicine 

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