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J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Apr;31 Suppl 1:70-3. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3559-0.

Metrics That Matter.

Prentice JC1,2,3, Frakt AB4,5,6,7, Pizer SD4,8.

Author information

1
Health Care Financing and Economics, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S. Huntington Avenue, Mailstop 152H, Boston, MA, 02130, USA. Julia.Prentice@va.gov.
2
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. Julia.Prentice@va.gov.
3
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. Julia.Prentice@va.gov.
4
Health Care Financing and Economics, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S. Huntington Avenue, Mailstop 152H, Boston, MA, 02130, USA.
5
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
6
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
8
Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Increasingly, performance metrics are seen as key components for accurately measuring and improving health care value. Disappointment in the ability of chosen metrics to meet these goals is exemplified in a recent Institute of Medicine report that argues for a consensus-building process to determine a simplified set of reliable metrics. Overall health care goals should be defined and then metrics to measure these goals should be considered. If appropriate data for the identified goals are not available, they should be developed. We use examples from our work in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) on validating waiting time and mental health metrics to highlight other key issues for metric selection and implementation. First, we focus on the need for specification and predictive validation of metrics. Second, we discuss strategies to maintain the fidelity of the data used in performance metrics over time. These strategies include using appropriate incentives and data sources, using composite metrics, and ongoing monitoring. Finally, we discuss the VA's leadership in developing performance metrics through a planned upgrade in its electronic medical record system to collect more comprehensive VHA and non-VHA data, increasing the ability to comprehensively measure outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

access to care metrics; mental health metrics; metric implementation; metric validation; veterans

PMID:
26951272
PMCID:
PMC4803674
DOI:
10.1007/s11606-015-3559-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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