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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.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: August 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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