The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Health Care Quality Indicators Project is an attempt to develop and implement measures to compare the quality of health systems across industrialized nations. This Commonwealth Fund–supported study describes one aspect of the project: the development of measures for primary care, prevention, and health promotion.
What the Study Found
An expert panel selected existing quality indicators from around the world and then mapped them to an organizational framework, assessed them based on the Institute of Medicine’s criteria for importance and scientific validity, as well as feasibility, and then whittled them down through a modified Delphi process. This approach to measure development resulted in a set of 27 indicators: six related to health promotion; 13 to preventive care, focusing on prenatal care and immunizations; and eight related to primary care, mainly risk-reduction activities.
The authors conclude that "further work is required to assess the operational feasibility of the indicators and the validity of any benchmarking data drawn from international comparisons." To select additional indicators, a conceptual framework needs to be developed that "comprehensively captures the complex construct of primary care."