The National Committee for Quality Assurance's 2006 report on the performance of U.S. health plans found overall improvement in HEDIS clinical quality measures for those plans that collect and publicly report performance data. Improvements, moreover, were broad-based. There are several lessons for those pursuing high performance of the U.S. health system as a whole. Most importantly, the results show there is hope; performance on some HEDIS measures is now approaching 100 percent. Diffusion of measurement has been slow, but steady. The nation needs more and better measures of performance, mechanisms for setting standards of performance, and tools, such as performance-based contracts, for ensuring that improvement occurs.

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