Improved Health Plan Performance Offers Hope for Systemwide Gains

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<p>In a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=25294&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D424153%26%23doc424153">new Data Brief</a> from The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System, Commission executive director Stephen C. Schoenbaum, M.D., says a recent report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance "holds out hope" for better health system performance overall.<br><br>NCQA's report, <em>The State of Health Care Quality 2006,</em> found broad-based improvement in the care provided by those U.S. health plans that collect and publicly report performance data.<br><br>Schoenbaum, who is also the Fund's executive vice president for programs, notes that while adoption of performance measurement has been slow, progress has been steady. Broader use of quality measures, he says, will require more and better measures of performance, new mechanisms for setting standards, and tools--like performance-based contracts--for ensuring that measurement leads to improvement.<br><br>"We as a nation need to discover ways to learn from the top performers and assist those plans and providers whose performance falls below the benchmark," says Schoenbaum.<br><br>Commission Data Briefs are intended to provide quick analyses of key health care reports issued by federal agencies and national organizations, with an emphasis on how the new information relates to the key areas of health system performance monitored by the Commission's <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=25295&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D401577%26%23doc401577">National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance</a>.</p>