Tools & FAQs

Meaningful Measures Information & Tools

Here’s information you can share about our new Meaningful Measures Initiative.

Nurse and patient reviewing patient information

What are Meaningful Measures?

The Meaningful Measures framework is our new initiative to find the highest priorities for quality measurement and improvement. We’ll look only at the core issues that are most important in giving high-quality care and improving individual outcomes. 

The Meaningful Measure Areas connect the strategic goals we’re developing and individual measures/initiatives that show whether we’re achieving high-quality outcomes for our Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries. They’re concrete quality topics that show which core issues are most important to high-quality care and better patient outcomes.

Examples of Meaningful Measure Areas include Healthcare-Associated Infections and Prevention and Treatment of Opioid and Substance Use Disorders. Each of these Meaningful Measure Areas helps to connect to one of our strategic goals, such as “Empower patients and doctors to make decision about their health care” and “Support innovative approaches to improve quality, safety, accessibility, and affordability” by showing that those core issues are bigger than an individual measure.

What have stakeholders told us about Meaningful Measures?

Stakeholders have told us they strongly support the need for strong quality measurement to support the move to value-based care. They’ve also said that measures can burden clinicians and providers when they have to manually abstract data to submit to us since it takes time away from caring for their patients.

We’ve also heard from stakeholders that we’ve implemented many quality measures across care settings, but it’s hard to understand how these measures relate to each other and how they link to our goals. Specifically, we’ve heard this feedback from the stakeholders participating in the Measure Applications Partnership, which is convened by the National Quality Forum, as well as the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network.

What will Meaningful Measures do?

Meaningful Measures will move payment toward value by focusing everyone’s efforts on the same specific quality areas, with these 8 objectives:

  1. Address high-impact measure areas that safeguard public health.
  2. Make measures patient-centered and meaningful to patients.
  3. Make measures outcome-based where possible.
  4. Fulfill each program's statutory requirements.
  5. Minimize the level of burden for health care providers.
  6. Make opportunity for improvement.
  7. Address measure needs for population-based payment through alternative payment models.
  8. Align measures across programs and/or with other payers (Medicaid, commercial payers).

How did we identify the Meaningful Measures?

We worked continually with our stakeholders to find the measure areas that most impact our work. We:

  • Started by identifying stakeholders like states and private payers that use quality measurement based on our quality priorities.
  • Heard specific feedback from the public and the Measure Applications Partnership that measure sets need to be prudent and useful.
  • Drew from experts and stakeholder organizations such as the National Academies of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Core Quality Measures Collaborative, led by America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Hospital Association, to develop criteria to make measures meaningful to patients and actionable for providers.

Why are we using the Meaningful Measures framework?

The Meaningful Measures framework is a new approach to developing and implementing meaningful quality measures that can be well understood by stakeholders and helpful in guiding quality measurement efforts. By focusing on the core issues that are most important in giving high-quality care and improving individual outcomes, we can reduce the burden of quality reporting on providers.

Is there anything new I need to report because of Meaningful Measures?

No, the Meaningful Measures framework isn’t intended to make new requirements or measures for clinicians to report. It’s important to know the difference between Meaningful Measures, an overall guiding framework, and our specific programs, which each have different reporting requirements.

The Meaningful Measures framework is intended to find the highest-priority quality measurement areas to guide future measure set changes in our programs. Adding or removing measures from measure sets would be done through rulemaking by individual programs for their specific measure sets.

How does the Meaningful Measure framework work with the Impact Assessment Report?

Every 3 years we’re required by law to assess the impact of using endorsed quality measures in the programs and initiatives we administer and to post the results. The 2018 Impact Assessment Report organized measure analyses under our 6 Quality Strategy priorities, which align closely with the Health Care Quality Priorities in the Meaningful Measures framework.

The 2021 Impact Assessment Report will assess how performance measures address each area of the Meaningful Measures framework and help us achieve our strategic goals . Key Indicator dashboards like those in the 2018 Impact Assessment Report will show progress in the core issues most important to high-quality care and better patient outcomes.

Where Can I Get Tools & Resources?

Quality Conference: The Future of Quality Measurement, 2020 and Beyond —  February 2020 (PPTX)

Quality Conference Meaningful Measures Intro Jan. 2019 (PPTX)

Meaningful Measures AHIMA Presentation Sept. 2018 (PDF) - Maria Durham, Director of our Division of Program and Measurement Support, explains the Meaningful Measures Initiative to the American Health Information Management Association.

Meaningful Measures Overview Fact Sheet (PDF) - Gives an overview of our Meaningful Measures Initiative and explains how we developed and use the Meaningful Measures framework to develop, implement, and evaluate quality measures.

Meaningful Measure Area Definitions (DOCX) - Defines the Meaningful Measure areas and provides measures examples.

Meaningful Measures Meaningful Areas Fact Sheet (PDF) - Presents the initiative’s vocabulary and explains each of the Meaningful Measure Areas’ importance.

    Meaningful Measures What It Is Fact Sheet (PDF) - Describes what our Meaningful Measures Initiative means to patients, families, clinicians, and providers.

    Meaningful Measures Fact Sheet (PDF) - Presents our strategic goals and Health Care Quality Priorities and the Meaningful Measure areas associated with them.

    Meaningful Measures Handout (PDF) - Gives examples of how our quality measures and initiatives relate to each Meaningful Measure Area.

    Meaningful Measures Alignment with 2018 Impact Assessment Key Indicators (PDF) – A crosswalk table that shows how the 2018 Key Indicators align with the six Healthcare Quality Priorities, 19 Meaningful Measure Areas, and related detailed objectives of the CMS Meaningful Measures Initiative. Key Indicators are measures or groups of measures used to gauge performance in a Meaningful Measure Area and track progress critical to providing high-quality care and improving individual outcomes.


    Page Last Modified:
    12/01/2021 05:40 PM