Pediatric quality standards are sought

December 1, 2007

The National Quality Forum is working to set performance standards for perinatal care.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) will, for the first time, endorse a set of measures that specifically involve pediatrics.

The NQF is asking for nominations of performance measures for perinatal care, including the last trimester of pregnancy through hospital discharge for mothers and their newborns. According to the request, "Candidate measures may address the care provided by individual clinicians, such as physicians and midwives, as well as facilities, including hospitals and birthing centers."

The organization issued a call for nominations for the project's steering committee. Anyone could nominate either measures or committee members. Individuals were allowed to self-nominate for the steering committee. The organization expects to go through an intense review process with its various councils, over about eight months to select measures to be endorsed. The latter part of the period will include time for public review.

The NQF's structure, said president Janet Corrigan in a statement, "allows private and public sector stakeholders at the national, regional, and local levels, to work in partnership to devise and implement solutions to the serious challenges confronting the health care sector."

The number of measures that are endorsed in a project can vary from zero to 20, says Lisa McGonigal, MD, MPH, a NQF staff member for the perinatal project. As an example, one of the NQF-endorsed "nursing-sensitive" standards is, "Deaths among surgical inpatients with treatable serious complications."

The NQF has several dozen organizations as members. Its board includes executives from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, General Motors, CMS, AFL-CIO, and the National Business Coalition on Health and other organizations.

McGonigal says there has been significant interest in the perinatal project. Several sets of measures may be nominated. Information on the project, including nomination procedures, can be found on the NQF's Web site at http://www.qualityforum.org/.