Medical Professional Publications

National Effort Needed to Develop Core Quality and Outcome Measures for Pediatric Health

(From the August 2017 issue of Research Now)

The seemingly infinite indicators large pediatric systems use to measure children’s health often fall short in determining patient outcomes and quality of care and are expensive.

In an editorial published in JAMA Pediatrics, Kelly Kelleher, MD, director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and co-author William Gardner from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, call for a national effort to develop a core set of quality and outcome measures for children.

The goal of health care, namely well-being, has different meanings across the life span. Children must build the physical, cognitive and social foundations to become healthy adults, in addition to their current health needs. Children also face different health risks; many of the diseases and conditions children experience are influenced by socioenvironmental factors.

As the authors note, “successful efforts to move community measures forward will only be achieved by health care clinicians working with social services agencies, schools, and local governments to change the social determinants of health. This includes partnering on services but also on governance, shared savings, and relevant data.”

Considering the vast differences between adult and child health needs, pediatric medicine requires its own measure set separate from adult health care. Comparative studies of institutions without common, standardized measures have proven nearly impossible, and current measure sets are primarily aimed at addressing disorders and processes rather than patient outcomes and quality of life.

Dr. Kelleher and colleagues have convened a group to begin the effort of constructing more relevant pediatric measures. A conceptual framework developed by the National Academy of Medicine will be adapted to identify a core pediatric health measure set that assesses the most important aspects of pediatric health.

Gardner, W, Kelleher, K. Core quality and outcome measures for pediatric health. JAMA Pediatrics. 10 July 2017. [Epub ahead of print].

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