Why Quality Matters
Why is it so important to measure health plan performance and quality? The answer is simple: Quality improves when you measure.
Since 1997, NCQA has reported on the performance of the health care system. NCQA’s annual State of Health Care Quality report has shown that the coordinated efforts of health plans, physicians, nurses, patients and others have improved clinical quality by consistently delivering care based upon medical evidence.
One of the most remarkable achievements from measurement, reporting and improvement of quality is the rise in the percentage of heart attack patients who are receiving beta-blocker drugs. Beta-blockers are given after a heart attack to prevent second, often fatal, heart attacks.
When NCQA began measuring this treatment in 1996, fewer than 2 in 3 patients were receiving the right care. Ten years later, more than 97 percent of heart attack patients received beta-blockers. This improvement has saved as many as 5,600 lives over the past six years alone. It has improved the health of tens of thousands more. These results are a dramatic illustration of the benefits that a broad commitment to quality can bring to the American health care system.