Purpose of review: Pneumonia has been the target of large national initiatives to measure and report quality of care. Measures of pneumonia care are now being used for public reporting and pay-for-performance in an effort to increase provider accountability for healthcare quality in the USA. Increasingly, concerns have been raised about the potential for unintended consequences of performance measurement and reporting that might lead to patient harm.
Recent findings: Since 1999, there have been substantial improvements in performance on measures of pneumonia processes of care, and patient clinical outcomes have improved. The association between improved clinical outcomes and processes of care for pneumonia, however, is not clear based on available national data. The increasing use of process measures for hospital accountability has created the continual need to re-evaluate the relationship between processes being measured and desired patient outcomes. While there is little direct evidence of unintended consequences of performance measurement, concerns have been raised about the potential for direct or indirect harm to patients.
Summary: Measuring processes of care for pneumonia is feasible and appears to have accelerated the pace of quality improvement. There is an ongoing need to develop new measures of pneumonia quality that focus on patient outcomes, care transitions, and efficiency of care.