COVID-19 Story Tip: COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Much Needed Improvements for Measuring Health Care Quality


Health care providers routinely collect and submit data to understand the quality of care they are delivering to patients. But what happens when a health care crisis strikes and the data are difficult to obtain? The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that quality measurement is labor intensive, that there’s a substantial time lag between care and reporting on the quality, and that standardizing data for purposes of data sharing is needed, according to experts from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

“Measuring the quality of care is essential during both times of stability and times of crisis,” says J. Matthew Austin, Ph.D., M.S., faculty member at the Armstrong Institute and assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “During a crisis, health care is still being delivered, and the need to understand the quality and safety of that care becomes even more important as the care processes continue to rapidly change.”


“The COVID-19 crisis highlighted some of the important limitations and challenges of our current approach to quality measurement in the U.S.,” says Allen Kachalia, M.D., J.D., senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of the Armstrong Institute. “The health care system should prevent being in a situation with a poor understanding of the quality of health care being delivered, regardless of whether there is a public health crisis.”


Austin and Kachalia are available for interviews to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of quality measurement in the U.S. health care system, the impact of the pandemic on quality measurement and their recommendations for improvement.

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