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Defining Quality with Mayo's Nilay Shah, PhD


“Billions and billions of dollars are spent on just measuring quality that could be used for actually delivering care.”

“Billions and billions of dollars are spent on just measuring quality that could be used for actually delivering care,” said Nilay Shah, PhD.

While in Rochester for the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation’s Transform meeting in late September, Healthcare Analytics News had the opportunity to catch up with Shah, who is Deputy Director of Research at Mayo’s Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. The Kern Center works to evaluate and shape newer, more efficient ways of administering care and delivering outcomes.

He notes that the term "quality" can often mean different things to different people throughout healthcare. “For large organizations sometimes, their contracts are based on these quality measures, so for them it's a financial impact of that. For clinicians that may mean a different thing…some of those are meaningful measures, others are not.”

Shah said that, in addition to some measures not being very meaningful, the act of providing the data to evaluate them can be burdensome, both timewise and financially. He spoke of the prevalence of “measurement with a wink”: checkboxes that have no real impact on the quality of care that is being administered to a patient.

“In the last 10 years, I think we made huge progress in terms of how we measure it, but I think there's opportunities to take it a little bit further and make it much more meaningful both for patients and clinicians, rather than just having it truly driven by payments,” Shah said.

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