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Psychiatr Serv. 2002 Mar;53(3):281-7.

Common ground: a framework for selecting core quality measures for mental health and substance abuse care.

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  • 1Psychiatry, Cambridge Hospital, Massachusetts 02139, USA. richard_hermann@hms.harvard.edu


There is widespread interest throughout the mental health system in routine quality assessment to facilitate quality improvement, oversight, purchasing, and consumer choice. In the absence of agreement on a limited number of meaningful and feasible quality measures, delivery systems, payers, managed care organizations, regulators, and accreditors have each implemented unique measures and specifications. The resulting heterogeneity among measures has increased the burden on providers, limited the comparability of results, and hindered efforts to focus limited resources on further development of the most promising measures. Policy makers have initiated efforts for stakeholders to reach consensus on a core set of measures for common use, but barriers to progress remain, including differences in stakeholder needs and trade-offs between prioritizing desirable attributes of measures and representing the mental health system broadly. The authors present a framework for the selection of a core set of measures, clarify divergent perspectives, and make recommendations for further development of core quality measures for mental health care.

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