Population-Level Quality Measures for Behavioral Screening and Intervention

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Abstract

Delivered routinely in general health care settings, smoking, alcohol, depression, and obesity screening and intervention (behavioral screening and intervention [BSI]) could substantially improve population health and reduce health care costs. Yet BSI is seldom delivered in an evidence-based manner. This article assesses the adequacy of quality measures for BSI. Online searches of the National Quality Forum's Quality Positioning System and the National Clearinghouse for Quality Measures databases were conducted using the keywords smoking, tobacco, alcohol, depression, and obesity. The types and focuses of each measure were classified, and differences between the metrics and evidence-based practice were identified. Most measures indicate whether BSI components are delivered, not how well. Clinicians can perform well on most metrics without delivering evidence-based services. More rigorous quality measures are needed. A new kind of measure is proposed, whereby separate terms representing the reach and effectiveness of key BSI components are multiplied to produce a single indicator of population-level impact for each behavioral topic.

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