Methods to Develop Arthritis and Osteoporosis Measures

A View from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Published in: Clinical Experimental Rheumatology, v. 25, No. 6, Suppl. 47, Nov.-Dec. 2007, p. S22-S27

Posted on on January 01, 2007

by Sarah Sampsel, Catherine MacLean, L. Gregory Pawlson, Sarah Scholle

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OBJECTIVE: Performance measurement at various levels of the health care system promotes improved processes that can result in the provision of more consistent and effective care. This chapter articulates the methodology and criteria utilized in measures development to ensure accountability and serve the information needs of physicians, health care systems, health plans and consumers, using arthritis and osteoporosis as example conditions. METHODS: Observational studies conducted to assess the validity and feasibility of performance measures focused on arthritis and osteoporosis. Clinical expert panels were convened to develop measure specifications based on guidelines and evidence supporting critical aspects of care. The aspects of care that were assessed included: DMARD utilization for patients with rheumatoid arthritis; appropriate gastrointestinal prophylaxis for patients utilizing NSAIDS; comprehensive osteoarthritis care; comprehensive symptom assessment and medical management of woman over 65 years who experienced a bone fracture. RESULTS: The implementation of performance measures for key aspects of arthritis and osteoporosis care is challenged by the availability of administrative data. However, potential for improvement is evident in each of the areas studied. CONCLUSION: The key challenge to the feasibility of arthritis performance measures is the lack of administrative data to identify the eligible population. Administrative data capture suffers as a result of under-coding and under-recognition of arthritis. Consensus around a single set of measures creates a powerful tool for focusing on key components of care as a basis for quality improvement and allows for a valid comparison of care within and across health care settings.

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