Magazine article The Nation's Health

Report Focuses on Intersection of Public Health Quality, Health Indicators

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Report Focuses on Intersection of Public Health Quality, Health Indicators

Article excerpt

A NEW INSTITUTE of Medicine report is expanding quality measurements beyond individual public health services to the very characteristics and determinants that can shape a person's health status.

Released in July, the IoM report examines measures of quality for the leading health indicators in Healthy People 2020, the nation's health objectives for the current decade. Healthy People 2020 includes 26 leading health indicators within 12 topic areas, such as access to health services, environmental quality, and injury and violence. The quality measures recommended in the report align with the Department of Health and Human Services' nine aims for quality improvement within public health, such as being population-centered, proactive and efficient.

In addition to providing a logic model to guide the development of quality measures, the report also focused on metrics that would help integrate the clinical care and public health sectors. According to an IOM news release, the report authoring committee found that "every community should use measures of quality to monitor progress on the (leading health indicators)."

"The committee saw its task as helping to identify measures of quality to be used by partners in the health system broadly defined ... rather than identifying specific quality measures for specific public health programs," the report stated. "The former involves focusing primarily on intermediate and ultimate outcome measures, while identifying measures for specific programs requires a greater focus on process and intermediate outcomes."

Among its recommendations, the IOM report called on HHS to adopt a set of criteria for selecting and prioritizing measures of quality to be used in population health improvement. …

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