Beyond the initial indicators: lessons from the OECD Health Care Quality Indicators Project and the US National Healthcare Quality Report.

International Journal for Quality in Health Care 18 Suppl 1:45 (2006) PMID 16954516

Interest in comparative quality measurement and evaluation has grown considerably over the past two decades because of factors such as the recognition of widespread variation in clinical practice, the increased availability of evidence about medical effectiveness, and increasing concern about the cost and quality of health care. This article describes and contrasts two current efforts to develop health performance reporting systems: one, an international initiative-the Health Care Quality Indicator (HCQI) Project, sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and the other, a national project-the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR), sponsored by the US Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. There are a number of lessons learned from a comparison of the two efforts that are relevant for the future of each project and for other indicator-based reporting efforts in quality of health care. These lessons are discussed in the article and include: Conceptual frameworks should be established to guide the selection of indicators. Choices should be made early on in the process to focus on a wide range of clinical conditions or to report on a few priority areas. should be developed to add and subtract indicators while maintaining a stable set of indicators to track over time. Resources should be allocated to communication strategies and how best to present data results to diverse audiences. Mechanisms should be put in place to maintain project momentum.