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New perinatal quality measures from the National Quality Forum, the Joint Commission and the Leapfrog Group

Main, Elliott K

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2009 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 532–540
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328332d1b0
Healthcare management strategies: Edited by Michael C. Lu

Purpose of review Hospital quality measures have matured in many specialties but have lagged behind in maternity care. Recently, the National Quality Forum (NQF) has endorsed a series of 17 quality measures for perinatal care. It is important for all obstetric practitioners and leaders to understand these measures, as they form the basis of judging the quality of our hospital services for the next decade.

Recent findings Measure characteristics are examined including how they are developed and judged, and then the nine obstetric care measures are discussed in detail, including their literature support and specifications. The challenges of designing and testing new measures are explored. The importance of this measure set is stressed, as both the Joint Commission and the Leapfrog Group have chosen their next set of perinatal measures from this group as will state and regional public reporting organizations. Hospital quality improvement activities will be increasingly focused on improving performance on these measures.

Summary The current NQF measure set is not perfect but represents a reasonable start, covering a range of obstetric practice. Many of the measures could use further refinement and we need research and testing of additional measures going forward.

California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco and California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, Palo Alto, California, USA

Correspondence to Elliott K. Main, MD, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, California Pacific Medical Center, 3700 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA Tel: +1 415 750 6003; fax: +1 415 387 5876; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.