The role of the private sector in monitoring health care quality and patient safety.

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BACKGROUND: As payers, purchasers, and providers, both the public and private sectors have a stake in developing sound methods of measuring health care quality and patient safety. However, the role of the private sector in a national quality monitoring system remains largely underdeveloped. PRIVATE SECTOR ROLE IN HEALTH CARE QUALITY MONITORING: There have been some attempts to pool private-sector data through health care industry efforts to measure and monitor the quality of health care services. Yet despite a number of public/private partnerships, no standard method exists for measuring and monitoring health care quality and safety across public and private payers. THE AHRQ WORKSHOP ON PRIVATE-SECTOR QUALITY MONITORING: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) sponsored a workshop in fall 2000 to address the private sector's role in monitoring quality in the health care system. National experts developed a conceptual framework and recommendations on the design and scope of a private-sector data monitoring system. Ten key attributes of the monitoring system, such as timeliness of reports, flexibility, efficiency, and linkability, were identified. Barriers and gaps to the development of such a system include the cost of data collection, the diversity of the units of data collection, data privacy, and limitations of administrative data elements. SUMMARY: A comprehensive, public/private data collection system would address the multidimensional nature of quality and use data to effectively represent this complexity to the extent possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalJoint Commission journal on quality and safety
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a conference grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( AHRQ R13 HS10091-01 ). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of AHRQ nor members of the expert panel who participated in the one-day workshop on quality monitoring. The UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Health Care Policy and Evaluation is currently under contract with AHRQ to develop a prototype system using private-sector data to produce measures for the National Quality Report (AHRQ 290-00-0012 ). The authors wish to express their appreciation to the committee members who participated in our one-day meeting in Washington, DC, and reviewed and commented on an earlier version of this article.


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