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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

AQA Invitational Meeting Summary

Report on the Formation and Workplan of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee

Carolyn Clancy, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Peter Lee, Pacific Business Group on Health

Janet Corrigan, National Quality Forum

Carolyn Clancy discussed the formation of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee, noting that both the AQA and the HQA have been working to ensure that Americans will have useful information on health care available through the Internet. She said that the new Quality Alliance Steering Committee announced on July 21 that it will work closely with both CMS and AHRQ. She indicated that the committee's first task would be to coordinate and expand the existing pilot projects. Doing so will combine both public and private information to measure and report on performance in a way that is fully transparent and meaningful to all stakeholders. All information about the specific activities of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee can be found at

Clancy noted that there were a number of questions that needed to be addressed, including how to get to better quality and meaningful reporting and who would pay for it.

The Quality Alliance Steering Committee held its first meeting on August 4. As a result of that initial meeting, Clancy reported, five workgroups are being established that will help focus attention on particular efforts that are needed to accomplish the goals set forth by the committee. The five workgroups are

  • Pilot Expansion Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup is to focus on expanding the number and scope of AQA pilot sites. The workgroup is charged with developing a plan for expansion that includes both ambulatory and hospital care along with the ability to assess quality across episodes of care. The group also will develop criteria that will be used for selection and prioritization of additional sites for pilot expansion.
  • Measure Harmonization Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup is to focus on identifying measures where measure specifications are different and thereby develop a plan to reconcile measurement specifications/definitions across ambulatory and hospital settings. The plan should include methods/processes for ongoing harmonization of measures across settings as well as a way to refresh the measures and retire them.
  • Pilot Infrastructure Workgroup—The objective of this workgroup is to focus on identifying ways to provide infrastructure support to the pilot sites. This workgroup may investigate existing avenues, such as the quality improvement organizations, contractors, and local support that could sustain the pilot sites. In addition, the workgroup is charged with developing a plan to track and provide ongoing evaluation of the pilot sites. This plan will include data collection and aggregation.
  • Efficiency/Episodes of Care Workgroup (just getting off the ground)—The objective of this workgroup is to focus on developing a comprehensive approach to efficiency that will include examination of the overall system as well as of group and individual physicians. In order to penetrate the issue of efficiency, episodes of care need to be evaluated. The workgroup will develop a plan to evaluate episodes of care and efficiency of services as well as primary responsibilities for the care provided (i.e., system, physician, or jointly between physician and system).
  • Cost-Pricing Transparency Workgroup (also just getting off the ground)—The objective of this workgroup is to focus on the costs of care and reporting the costs/price of care to the public. The workgroup will investigate the issues surrounding reporting costs/pricing to consumers and develop a plan to implement reporting in these areas.

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