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Quality Measures

Quality health care is a high priority for the President, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS implements quality initiatives to assure quality health care for Medicare Beneficiaries through accountability and public disclosure. CMS uses quality measures in its various quality initiatives that include quality improvement, pay for reporting, and public reporting.

What are Quality Measures?

Quality measures are tools that help us measure or quantify healthcare processes, outcomes, patient perceptions, and organizational structure and/or systems that are associated with the ability to provide high-quality health care and/or that relate to one or more quality goals for health care. These goals include: effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered, equitable, and timely care.

How are they developed?

For information on how CMS develops quality measures, please click on the "Measure Management System" link below for more information.

How are they used?

CMS uses quality measures in its quality improvement, public reporting, and pay-for-reporting programs for specific healthcare providers. Click on Related Links Inside CMS below for more information.

How are they collected or reported?

Data on quality measures are collected or reported in a variety of ways, such as claims, assessment instruments, chart abstraction, registries. Click on Related Links Inside CMS below for more information.

CMS is currently testing the submission of quality measures data from Electronic Health Records for physicians and other health care professionals and will soon be testing with hospitals. Click on the "Electronic Specification" link to the left for more information.

Where can I found out more about the measure specifications?

Measure specifications are available by clicking on Downloads or Related Links Inside CMS below.

Medication Measures Special Innovation Project

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has contracted with FMQAI to provide services for the Medication Measures Special Innovation Project. The purpose of the project is to develop measures that can be used to support quality healthcare delivery to Medicare beneficiaries. The key objectives of the project are to:

  1. Maintain previously developed medication measures and develop new medication measures with the potential for National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsement;
  2. Adapt/specify existing NQF-endorsed medication measures and develop new measures for implementation in CMS reporting programs, such as:
    1. The Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program,
    2. The Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program,
    3. The Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and
    4. Others as directed by CMS, such as long-term care settings and ambulatory care settings;
  1. Continue to develop new medication measures that address the detection and prevention of adverse medication-related patient safety events that can be used in future Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Statements of Work and in CMS provider reporting programs; and
  2. Identify and specify up to five new adverse event measures (non-medication-related) that could be used in future QIO programs and CMS provider reporting programs in the hospital setting (inpatient and/or emergency department).

In addition to maintenance of previously developed medication measures, the new measures to be developed under this special project support QIO patient safety initiatives by addressing topics, such as the detection and prevention of medication errors, adverse drug reactions, and other patient safety events. Under this Special Innovation Project, existing measures, as well as new measures, are being refined and specified for implementation in provider reporting programs.

The project currently has a portfolio of eight NQF-endorsed measures for the ambulatory care setting, five of which (i.e., NQF 0545, NQF 0555, NQF 0556, NQF 2467, NQF 2468) are undergoing NQF comprehensive review and have received recommendations for re-endorsement. In addition, one measure (i.e., NQF 2379) for the ambulatory care setting and two electronic clinical quality measures (i.e., NQF 2362 and NQF 2363) for the inpatient care setting have been submitted to NQF and have received recommendations for endorsement.  

  • NQF 0543: Adherence to Statin Therapy for Individuals with Coronary Artery Disease
  • NQF 0545: Adherence to Statins for Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus
  • NQF 0555: INR Monitoring for Individuals on Warfarin
  • NQF 0556: INR for Individuals Taking Warfarin and Interacting Anti-infective Medications
  • NQF 1879: Adherence to Antipsychotic Medications for Individuals with Schizophrenia
  • NQF 1880: Adherence to Mood Stabilizers for Individuals with Bipolar I Disorder
  • NQF 2362: Glycemic Control – Hyperglycemia
  • NQF 2363: Glycemic Control – Severe Hypoglycemia
  • NQF 2379: Adherence to Antiplatelet Therapy after Stent Implantation
  • NQF 2467: Adherence to ACEIs/ARBs for Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus
  • NQF 2468: Adherence to Oral Diabetes Agents for Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus

The maintenance of these measures requires the specifications to be updated annually; the specifications are provided in the “Downloads” section below.