This post was co-authored by Dale Lupu, PhD and Sydney Dy, MD

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is planning to issue a call for measures relevant to hospice and palliative care some time late in 2010, probably November. This is a critical opportunity to advance quality measurement for our field. (Hopefully, quality improvement follows on the heels of measurement.) Any of you who have submitted measures to NQF in the past know that quite a bit of effort goes into filling out the measure submission form, so we wanted to give you some advance notice as you think about the workload for yourself and your team going into the fall. Once NQF issues the call for measures, you will have 30 days to submit the forms. Here are links to general information on the NQF measure submission and endorsement process:

Every measure endorsed by NQF has to have a measure steward. The measure steward is responsible for making the necessary updates to the measure, and for informing NQF about any changes that are made to the measure on an annual basis. The measure steward is also responsible for providing the required measure information for the measure maintenance process that occurs approximately every three years.

If your organization has developed quality measures that you are finding useful in guiding quality improvement within hospice and palliative care, please consider submitting the measure(s) to NQF in the fall. It is very important that NQF receive a strong and robust set of measures to consider for endorsement. NQF endorsed measures form the backbone of pay for performance and value-based purchasing efforts that will likely impact more and more on hospice and palliative care in the coming years. The field needs a strong set of endorsed measures to move quality improvement efforts forward.

For those of you who fit the category of “measure user” more than “measure developer” – take heart. When it is finished, the results of this NQF project will be an important resource for you. A clear set of NQF endorsed measures in palliative and hospice care will make it easier for you to select and promote measures in your own setting. Begin laying the groundwork now for eventual implementation by spreading the word to the quality gurus in your organization that NQF endorsed palliative care measures are on the way for 2011.