Got Ideas for Preventing Readmissions? The NQF Wants to Hear Them!

Here’s your chance to help shape policy and evidence based medicine…

A recent blog post titled Measuring What Matters in Health Care discussed the idea of performance measures and talked about the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) initiatives to build a consensus for performance measures in specific areas of health care. Since the NQF seeks comments and ideas from the public, as well as from its own members, any nurse is able to provide input on current projects.

Well, the NQF’s current project is a topic we’ve discussed in depth here – preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions (those defined as occurring within 30 days of a discharge and being directly related to the original complaint). The commenting period for this project is now open. If you have ideas that specifically address all-cause readmissions to hospitals, you can submit them online, up until January 20, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent email sent by the NQF:

Patient Outcomes: All-Cause Readmissions Expedited Review Comment Period

This project seeks to identify and endorse additional cross-cutting (not condition-specific) measures for accountability and quality improvement that specifically address all-cause readmissions to hospitals. As part of this process, all-cause hospital readmissions-related consensus standards that were endorsed by NQF before June 2009 will be evaluated under the maintenance process.

If this is an area of interest to you, and you’d like to comment on the proposed performance measures, you can read an overview of the project here. Then, at the top of the page, click the tab that says DETAILS. Under the “Public and Member Comment” section, you’ll find a link that allows you to download the complete project for your review, and a link that leads to the actual comment form.

Why should you participate?

An NQF brochure titled The ABCs of Measurement makes a strong plea for the public to participate in its projects. Here’s an excerpt:

Your comments matter

Public input plays an important role in NQF’s decisions about measure endorsement. One example comes from debate about endorsing a measure for the proportion of patients who achieve 20/40 vision through cataract surgery. The committee was leaning against endorsement, but public comments suggested greater variability in outcomes among physicians and patient groups than research was showing. As a result, NQF endorsed the measure, which will help us learn more about outcomes of this surgery, especially in non-academic and community hospitals. The answers have high stakes since more than half of all Americans have the procedure by age 80.

It’s something to think about, isn’t it? As a nurse, you’re not only a provider of health care, but a consumer of health care. You not only have specialized knowledge, but an ethical obligation to advance nursing practice and advocate for your patients. This is a chance to put that knowledge and advocacy to work. Engaging in evidence-based nursing practice is just one sign that a nurse is a leader.

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