Effective measurement is key to better care, better health, and lower costs across the health care system. In a high-performing system, it drives progress towards safe, effective, efficient, timely, equitable, and patient-centered care. Measurement helps identify areas for improvement, evaluates what works, promotes accountability, and informs how health care is paid for. A critical gap currently exists, which is being addressed in a new publication from the American Institutes for Research, "Principles for Making Health Care Measurement Patient-Centered."
Patients have priorities that often differ from policymakers
The field of health care measurement has burgeoned in the United States over the past decades through the work of well-meaning researchers, clinicians, payers, and policymakers but aspects of health and health care that don’t resonate with patients are being evaluated and potentially even incentivized. Patient priorities often differ from the priorities of this group of stakeholders. The exclusion of patient priorities in measurement creates the risk that health care information isn’t helpful for patients when faced with decisions that impact their lives. Patient-centered measurement has emerged to fill this gap in meeting the needs of the people at the center of our health care system.
Redefining what's measured so it resonates with patients
Patient-centered measurement is defined in this report as “health care measurement driven by patients’ expressed preferences, needs, and values that informs progress toward better health, better care, and lower costs." “Principles for Making Health Care Measurement Patient-Centered” (April 2017) outlines five principles for patient-centered measurement developed with input from a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders that included patients . These five principles describe the essential elements and characteristics of patient-centered measurement, and redefine measurement so that it reflects what patients say they need and want.
Only the beginning
Like any paradigm shift, transforming measurement won’t happen easily or overnight. It requires innovative, on-the-ground approaches and meaningful partnerships across all stakeholder groups—patients, patient advocates, researchers, measure developers, policymakers, health care providers and organizations, and insurers.