Improving Quality of Care Through Executive Incentive Plans

Eric Reehl, for HealthLeaders Media , September 16, 2011

Types of Quality Measures

Quality measures are used to gauge how well care is provided to patients. Almost all quality measures used in the healthcare industry are categorized as one of three types: Outcome, Process, and Structure.


Outcome measures evaluate the results of the contact between a patient and the healthcare system. The percentage of patients who develop community-acquired pneumonia is an example of an outcome measure.

Process measures assess standards of care, where 100% performance is the target. The administration of an antibiotic one hour prior to surgery is an example of a process measure.

Structure measures gauge the creation or operation of a particular feature of the organization that helps provide quality healthcare. The creation of a new computer system that measures quality is an example of a structure measure.

Internally Developed Quality Measures
Some healthcare organizations have developed their own quality measures. These quality measures often respond to a specific problem or a perceived shortcoming in care at that organization. According to our recent survey, the four most popular internally developed quality measure categories are: Achieving specific clinical outcomes, reducing medication errors, implementing internally developed treatment standards, and reducing patient falls.

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