Outcomes and Quality Measures: Guiding Principles No Matter Where You Are On Your Data Journey

Outcomes and quality measures have been a relevant topic in the IDD industry for some time now and are at the core of the work Foothold Technology has been doing around Alternative Payment Models. There is a lot of content out there that talks about the importance of outcomes and quality measures, yet sometimes it can be hard to determine what data and content to seek out, follow, or even trust.  

The Advancing Value and Quality in Medicaid Service Delivery for Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, stated that “several entities have advanced approaches over the past 10 years, including the National Quality Forum quality measurement framework, the National Core Indicators survey, the Council on Quality Leadership (CQL) Personal Outcome Measures, HCBS CAHPS measures of consumer satisfaction, AHRQ’s HCBS quality measurement framework, and Testing Experience and Functional Tools grants. CMS’ Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) provides technical assistance for states interested in developing VBP approaches, including APMs and comprehensive MLTSS.”  

As you may have gathered from this excerpt, there is not one unified standard for approaching providers around outcomes and quality measures. Therefore, I wanted to provide some foundational principles that you may want to consider incorporating in your agency.  

The list below is developed from content that I have had the honor of participating in from webinars, articles and conversations with industry leaders. Finally, the one agreed upon truth that drives the recommendations below is that right now, data is the key to success for any agency. No matter where you are in your data journey, these core principles will set you up for success.  


Good Data Quality

  • Data drives decisions and before you can analyze the data you must make sure that the data you have is good. Ensuring your data is good can be impacted by a strong and reliable electronic documentation system, reliable documentation and audit processes, as well as constant communication of the importance of data. Make necessary changes to ensure  you have the necessary infrastructure in place to keep up the integrity of your data. 

Data-Driven Culture

  • Culture is important in every organization and incorporating a data-driven culture is an integral part of pushing the data journey forward. Everyone at your agency should know their role and impact around data whether it be to improve efficiency, increase funding, or improve ROI. Questions that your data answers and dashboards to easily share information should be at the heart of your data-driven culture.  

You’re Not Alone

  • It is imperative that you leverage the relationships and resources out there that can support you in your data journey.  Make sure that your software vendor is your partner in this endeavor, as they can be a phenomenal sounding board. State and federal trade associations are excellent authorities as well. Trade associations provide resources, education, and a unified voice for the provider community. Advocate to state and federal legislators to provide guidance around a nationally recognized set of  outcomes and quality measures. Align yourself with your state Medicaid office and leverage that relationship; they have been leading the movement towards APMs and will impact outcome and quality measures.  

Executive Buy-In

  • Most changes, if not all, in your agency require support from the top down.  It’s imperative that leadership be involved in developing the necessary changes around your agency’s data.  

I strongly believe that you can’t wait for guidance to come to you around outcomes and quality measures; you have to go out and educate yourself, make decisions, and make sure that you are part of the change.  These guiding principles will make the data journey easier to begin and will create a strong foundation as you continue along the path to success.