QI News and Trends: Bonus Content

NQF Initiative to Determine the Impact of Adjusting Healthcare Performance Measures for Social Risk Factors Highlights Successes, Opportunities
National Quality Forum (07/19/17)

A two-year trial by the National Quality Forum (NQF) to risk-adjust certain healthcare performance measures for social risk factors has concluded this adjustment is feasible. NQF has endorsed 17 measures adjusted for factors such as a person's level of education. "NQF conducted this trial because of our commitment to better understanding the impact of social risk factors on patients and providers," says Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, president and CEO of NQF. The findings add to growing evidence that individuals' social risk factors affect their health and healthcare. Determining the impact of social factors on the quality of care patients receive and the outcomes of that care has been a focus of policymakers due to federal accountability programs that assess financial incentives and penalties on providers. NQF reviewed more than 300 measures; 93 measures included clinical or some other form of risk adjustment, and of these, 65 had a conceptual basis for social risk adjustment. A new NQF report highlights areas that need further exploration to provide a better understanding of how social risk factors can influence health and health outcomes.

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