Performance and quality measures updated for patients with atrial fibrillation

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The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released updated clinical performance and quality measures for treating adult patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

This document updates the previous measure set that was released in 2008 and for which implementation notes were issued in 2011.

“Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the United States,” says Paul A Heidenreich, professor and vice-chair for clinical, quality and analytics in the department of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, USA) and the chair of the writing committee. “This condition impacts between 2.7 million and 6.1 million American adults, and this number is expected to double by 2050. Updating the measure set was a priority for the ACC and AHA.”

While the original measure set only included treatment in the outpatient setting, the update includes the inpatient setting as well. This broadened scope is intended to further improve the continuity of care for these patients by addressing the multiple settings in which they receive care. The new measures also address care domains that were not previously included, such as patient safety, effective clinical care, communication, and care coordination.

The writing committee developed an atrial fibrillation measure that includes 24 total measures, including six performance measures (three inpatient measures and three outpatient measures) and 18 quality measures (10 inpatient measures and eight outpatient measures).

“The writing committee believes that implementation of this clinical performance and quality measure set by providers, physician practices, and hospital systems will help to enhance the quality of care provided to patients with atrial fibrillation in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, and thereby improve their quality of life,” says Heidenreich.

The document acknowledges that providers, practices or facilities may choose to adopt some but not all of the measures in their entirety. The clinical performance and quality measure set represented in the report is intended to serve as an ACC/AHA atrial fibrillation measures library. The writing committee aimed to ensure that the quality measures were developed on the basis of guideline recommendations and were made available to sites that may choose to implement them to look at the quality of care rendered to patients with atrial fibrillation.

The measures will be added to the ACC’s PINNACLE registry for outpatient quality improvement during a future update. 

The 2016 ACC/AHA Clinical Performance and Quality Measures for Adults With Atrial Fibrillation or Atrial Flutter will be published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation: Quality and Outcomes.

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