Establishing National Goals for Quality Improvement

Published in: Medical Care, v. 41, no. 1, suppl., Jan. 2003, p. I-16-I29

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Elizabeth A. McGlynn, Christine K Cassel, Sheila Leatherman, Alison H. DeCristofaro, Helen L. Smits

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BACKGROUND: For a number of reasons, it has been difficult to garner public interest in the need to improve the quality of care delivered nationally. One possible reason for this is that the concept of quality has different meanings for different stakeholders. To make the problems of suboptimal quality more concrete and potential solutions more compelling, the Strategic Framework Board (SFB) recommended developing a set of national goals for quality improvement. OBJECTIVES: To describe the criteria by which national goals should be selected, illustrate the analytic methods that should be used to support the development of such goals, and describe and illustrate a process by which national goals could be formulated. RESEARCH DESIGN: Targeted review of literature and discussions among members of the SFB. FINDINGS: National goals have played a key role in making progress under the Healthy People 2000 and Healthy People 2010 initiatives. The recommended process will involve assembling key evidence as well as engaging in a consensus process. CONCLUSIONS: Developing a set of national goals for quality improvement is a key activity for a national quality measurement and reporting system to undertake. The steps outlined here represent a feasible and productive method for accomplishing this objective.

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