Editorial |

Quality Measurements in Pediatrics:  What Do They Assess?

Scott A. Lorch, MD, MSCE
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(1):89-90. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.425.
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With the cost of health care rising, there are multiple attempts to improve the value of care provided by health care professionals, either through reducing costs or, more commonly, identifying providers of high-quality health care. These measurements are occurring at every level of health care, from hospitals and providers to health plans and states. Although the number of measurements of pediatric care is smaller than it is in adult care, the number of pediatric-specific measurements is increasing every year, with an initial set of core measurements published in 2011.1 The work by Profit et al2 demonstrates an important, largely unstudied issue with regard to this increase in quality measurements. What do they actually assess? Do providers who perform well in 1 or more measurements provide higher quality of care than other providers?

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Figure. The levels of quality that individual measurements assess, using the study by Profit et al2 as an example. The 8 measurements map to 4 features of the health care process used to manage prematurely born infants. The concepts that these features map within the quality box (and the scope of these concepts) are not understood. AGA indicates average gestational age; NICU, neonatal intensive care unit, O2, supplemental oxygen.




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