Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Hope for Systemwide Gains Seen in Improved Health Plan Performance

New data on the quality of care provided by health plans "hold out hope" for better overall health care system performance, according to a Data Brief released by The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System.

The Commission brief focused on findings from the recent National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) report, The State of Health Care Quality 2006, which found broad-based improvement in the care provided by those U.S. health plans that collect and publicly report performance data. NCQA found that performance of commercial plans improved on 35 of 42 HEDIS quality-of-care measures, such as use of beta blockers after heart attack (see figure).

IMPORTED: www_commonwealthfund_org__usr_img_Schoenbaum_NCQA_fig.gif

Commission executive director Stephen C. Schoenbaum, M.D., the lead author of the brief and the Fund's executive vice president for programs, notes that while adoption of performance measurement in the health care sector 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.

"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," Schoenbaum says.

Commission Data Briefs 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 National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance.

Publication Details