Even though outcome measures are deployed by health plans and providers to better coordinate and manage complex patients, industry executives have some problems with the CMS' effort.
During a November webinar to discuss the Meaningful Measures initiative, providers questioned if it will truly reduce the burden because it didn't appear to narrow down which measures are truly "meaningful."
Indeed, the core tenets of the initiative touch on broad aspects of care deemed to be meaningful and as a result should be measured, such as "equity of care" and "appropriate use of healthcare."
Some questioned how such generalities lessen the reporting burden. "There is no reduction whatsoever," said Robert Berenson, a health policy fellow at the Urban Institute. The core objectives "include virtually everything, so they haven't narrowed down anything."
The IHI's Mate said the lack of consensus in healthcare around what quality measures are meaningful creates the risk that the shift to outcome measures will unnecessarily bloat the number of measures. Mate argued that the best way to find out the most meaningful measures is to ask patients what matters to them. "What we want to do is measure the things that matter the most, and the only judge and jury of that are the patients we serve," he said.
Collecting data provided by patients, often called patient-reported outcome measures, is seen as the future of outcome measurement by providers and payers alike.