NCQA Certification Increases the Value of Self-Reported Data

Guest Blog

Dr. Brittany U. Carter is the Director of Health and Research at Wellsource, an NCQA-certified pioneer in health risk assessments and self-management tools. Dr. Carter specializes in evidence-based practice and health research to ensure the trustworthiness and scientific integrity of our products.

There is no piece of data more important than self-reported data. Why? Because what an individual has to say about themselves matters. Some healthcare professionals cringe at that word: self-report. Google this term and nearly all the results are articles and blogs questioning the validity and reliability of self-reported data. Asking the person to provide details about themselves—their health, their habits, their lifestyle, their feelings—is riddled with potential bias because its coming from the individual about the individual. Can we trust that people are going to be honest when you ask them how many minutes of physical activity they do each day? Or how many glasses of wine they drank last week?

But the fact remains: population health and wellness managers, case workers, and healthcare practitioners all use self-reported health and lifestyle data to target wellness offerings or other health services to individuals with certain conditions or whose lifestyle behaviors pose a significant risk to their health. How that data is collected matters, and quality is a huge component to reducing the risk of this bias.

NCQA Increases Confidence, Credibility

Arguably, one of the more important steps to improve the validity of self-reported data is NCQA Certification. An evaluation by an independent body dedicated to quality helps ensure the assessment meets high standards such as:

  • Asking scientifically valid, evidence-based questions
  • Having processes and procedures in place to protect each individual’s information
  • Conducting annual review, testing, and improvement
  • Being accessible and understandable
  • Empowering participants to achieve best health

NCQA’s rigorous certification standards align with our own values of excellence, integrity, teamwork, and optimal health. They raise the likelihood that a participant will trust the assessment to be private and secure, which will increase the validity of self-reported data. NCQA Certification also assures health plans and other organizations that Wellsource takes quality seriously, and that our health assessments provide meaningful, actionable data.

These reasons and more are why, when NCQA released it guidelines for Certification of health risk assessments, Wellsource was one of the first organizations certified. We’ll continue to use NCQA to validate our high standards and inform future product development.

Read the Wellsource Case Study to learn more about the value of NCQA Certification.