The National Quality Forum approved an amendment to its intellectual-property policy that will allow some quality-measurement developers to keep proprietary information from public disclosure.
Under the new policy, vendors or organizations that submit measures dubbed complex measure systems will have to disclose all proprietary information to the NQF as it evaluates the measure, but the quality forum will not post that information. The NQF will post a description of a measure, including the logic and variables used in the model, during the public comment and voting periods of the endorsement process.
If the NQF endorses the measure, providers who want to use the measure will have to sign a limited license agreement with the vendor to review the measure, which allows full access to understand the methodologies but does not allow hospitals to use the system for data processing and public reporting purposes. Full disclosure of all measures not considered a complex system will continue to be required for NQF approval.
The forum approved the policy amendment during its board meeting at its annual policy conference in Washington. Hospital industry representatives, including the Federation of American Hospitals, opposed the amendment, saying that measures should have open access so hospitals can use them internally for quality improvement. -- by Jean DerGurahian