Thursday, September 20, 2007

Success story: death of a quality measure

There's a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine this week (subscription required for full-text access) discussing a healthcare quality success story.

This brief piece looks at the use of beta-blockers in the acute period after myocardial infarction - how this was operationalized as a quality measure by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in 1996 and why this measure is being retired as a quality indicator. Dr Lee notes:
Good research seems to be necessary but not sufficient to create sweeping
change for the better. What are the other key ingredients? The beta-blocker
story helps us to flesh out the recipe.

A great quick overview of an example of how strong evidence from clinical research was translated to a pervasive change in the US healthcare system.

Reference: Lee TH. Eulogy for a quality measure. New Engl J Med 2007 Sept 20;357(12):1175-1177.

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