Measurement & Transparency

Below are a few examples from a range of projects related to data, measurement, performance incentives, reporting, and transparency in which SWL has been involved. For more information or to explore working with SWL on your upcoming project, contact Diane Stollenwerk at

AHRQ Quality Indicators — Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

As a member of a top notch team supporting the AHRQ Quality Indicators (AHRQ QI) program, StollenWerks has provided strategic guidance and communications support to disseminate the AHRQ QIs and increase engagement. These include researching and writing case studies, planning and facilitating webinars, and identifying, proposing, securing and presenting about the AHRQ QIs at industry conferences and events.

AHRQ Quality Indicator Case Studies:  SWL lead the work to identify, research, and write a series of briefs exploring how the use of AHRQ QIs has resulted in safer, higher quality care for patients. Each of the hospitals and health systems listed below have powerful stories to share, as revealed in interviews conducted by the SWL team. These case studies are featured on the AHRQ QI website:

California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), August 2019

Carilion Clinic, August 2019

Johns Hopkins Health System, August 2019

Tampa General Hospital, April 2019

CHRISTUS Health, July 2018

Missouri Hospital Association, October 2017

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, October 2017

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, June 2017

Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California, November 2016

SUNY Upstate University Hospital, November 2016

Cleveland Clinic, January 2016

Essentia Health, November 2015

Yale New Haven Health System, November 2015

Webinars:  On behalf of AHRQ, StollenWerks engages in planning, content development, recruitment of industry presenters, and facilitation of online events for attendees from throughout the USA. Example events include:

Case Studies Using the AHRQ Indicators for Quality, October 2017

AHRQ Quality Indicators Software: Transition to ICD-10 July 2016

Lessons Learned in Using the AHRQ QIs to Improve the Quality and Safety of Care, December, 2015

Introduction to AHRQ Quality Indicators: Hospitals & Health Systems, October 2015

Industry Conferences:  On an ongoing basis, StollenWerks maintains an extensive inventory of healthcare industry conferences, and identifies upcoming events could provide value to raising awareness of the AHRQ QIs. StollenWerks also suggests topics, pulls together panels of industry experts, and writes then submits proposals for consideration by the event organizers. This also involves developing the presentation materials and presenting or moderating the expert panels. Examples include:

Using the AHRQ PSIs to Create a Zero Harm Patient Safety Culture, NAHQ Next, National Association for Healthcare Quality, September 2019

Success Stories from Several States: Using Measures to Inspire Hospitals and Communities to Creatively Collaborate to Improve Population Health, NACCHO Annual Conference, National Association of County & City Health Officials, July 2019

Using Data Measures to Improve Population Health, NAHQ Next, National Association for Healthcare Quality, November 2018

Measuring to Improve Healthcare Using the AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs), Vital2016, America’s Essential Hospitals, June 2016

ICD-10 Implementation: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Data Organizations, NAHDO 2015 Conference, October 2015

Quality Measurement to Quality Improvement: Connecting the Dots, 2015 AHRQ Research Conference, October 2015

AHRQ QI Software: Transforming Raw Data into Measure Results to Drive Quality Improvement, AcademyHealth Concordium 2015, September 2015

Using AHRQ QIs as Evidence-based Tools for Change, AHQA 2015, September 2015

MN All Payer Claims Database (APCD) Project to Develop High Value Reports for Employers 

As in more than 20 states, Minnesota has an APCD to bring together de-identified health care claims data from many payers to use in reports and analyses that inform purchasing decisions, monitor markets and support policy-making. As the most comprehensive set of claims data available in Minnesota, the MN APCD is also used to provide reports and analyses that employers can use in value-based purchasing to get higher quality, more affordable health care that results in better health. SWL is working with MN to engage employers in the design of these reports and analyses, using the MN APCD data. With employer guidance, we are also developing materials and an outreach plan to raise awareness of the high value-reports and encourage self-insured employers to continue to submit de-identified data to the MN APCD. To learn more, see the MN APCD Project overview (2017).

Aligning Data Analytics to support shared accountability: Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM Minnesota

Shared accountability across and among health care organizations and other service providers will improve the health of individuals and communities, increase the quality of health care, and reduce overall costs. The State of Minnesota, guided by two Task Forces for the Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM project, formed the Data Analytics Subgroup to assess the “what, why, and how” of aligning the data analytics shared among various organizations in Minnesota. The work was done in two phases: first to identify data analytic elements to support care models that involve shared accountability; and second to identify the data analytic needs of a broader range of organizations that participate in entities such as Accountable Communities for Health (ACHs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Phase Two addressed data needs, priority data analytic elements and related data sources that bridge physical and behavioral health issues, as well as social and environmental determinants of health to improve the individual and collective health of Minnesotans. To learn more, download the Data Analytics Subgroup Phase Two Report (August 2016) (PDF) and the Data Analytics Subgroup Phase One Report (March 2015) (PDF).

Improving Health & Health Care in Communities Across America: Insights from the Field: How Reports on Health Care Cost, Resource use, and Quality Can Better Serve Local Physician Organizations — Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) 

Physician organizations play a central role in controlling costs while ensuring high-quality care, whether through direct patient care or by influencing the delivery of health care for a defined population. In order to play that role effectively, physician organizations must have information that is understandable, timely, relevant, and effective. This brief shares the findings from interviews with clinical and administrative leaders at physician organizations in Maine and Oregon, where multi-stakeholder collaboratives have been pioneers in privately reporting data to local physician organizations. To learn more, download the report: Insights from the Field: How Reports on Health Care Cost, Resource use, and Quality Can Better Serve Local Physician Organizations (July 2015) (PDF).

Improving Health & Health Care in Communities Across America: Strategic Guidance: Practical Approaches For Engaging Employers In Community Alliances — Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) 

Public and private-sector employers play an important role in health care, many as purchasers of health benefits and all as a connection to employees and families. This report draws from lessons learned from organizations that improve health care cost, safety and patient experience (i.e., ‘customer service’) in part by working with employers large to small. Employers are directly affected by poor healthcare quality and high cost, hitting bottom-line budgets and affecting productivity. The report offers ideas for assessing the mix of employers in a region and matching activities and products with the types of employers most likely to value them. To learn more, download the report: Strategic Guidance: Practical Approaches For Engaging Employers In Community Alliances (January 2015) (PDF).

Improving Health Care by Measuring It — National Quality Forum (NQF) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

SWL and NQF worked with RWJF until mid-2013 to develop create and test web-based tools for quality improvement measurement. The Program Results Report (April 2014) (PDF) provides an overview of the project and its outcomes, which included the development of three tools which RWJF and State and local leaders — many of which are listed in the RWJF results report — hailed as “groundbreaking” and “practical”: Community Tool to Align Measurement, Field Guide to NQF Resources, and Quality Positioning System (QPS).

MONAHRQ Design Improvement — Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

This report explores the value and future opportunities for MONAHRQ® —  innovative, free, website-generating software from AHRQ that enables any organization to create a public or private health care reporting website. Interviews and an environmental scan were conducted, and recommendations presented to define focus and goals for the MONAHRQ® project. To learn more, download the MONAHRQ® Design Improvement Report (PDF).