National Quality Forum to Work with American Medical Association

Feb. 22, 2024
The organizations aim to collect standards for collecting and sharing patient symptoms and data in clinical care

According to a Feb. 21 press release, the National Quality Forum (NQF) announced it is working with the American Medical Association (AMA) to initiate standards for collecting and sharing patient symptom data in clinical care.

The press release says that “Technical standards for storing and communicating health data are essential to record information that is accurate, unambiguous, and readily available to inform treatment decisions and to measure and report on quality of care. Developing standards with early input from clinicians is needed to ensure the data are useful and actionable in real-world care settings. NQF will test a new approach for engaging clinicians in developing standards, with AMA helping to recruit physicians to participate in the effort.”

Further, “Despite being a critical input to the diagnostic process, symptom data are not consistently recorded or defined in Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, impeding clinicians’ access to information they need to provide accurate, timely diagnoses. Diagnostic error is a persistent contributing factor in patient harm events. A recent study from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence estimates that about 795,000 people are seriously harmed or die each year as a result of incorrect or delayed diagnosis.”

The organizations plan to engage a wide range of physicians early in the standards development life cycle to identify key terms and characteristics that support sharing of symptom data, and then initiate standardization through the HL7 (Health Level 7) consensus process.

NQF has the full press release.