Measuring Complexity: Moving Toward Standardized Measures for the Field of Complex Care

Bossley H, Imbeah K. Measuring Complexity: Moving Toward Standardized Measures for the Field of Complex Care. National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs and Institute for Healthcare Improvement; May 2020.​

MeasuringComplexityReport_COVER_thumb.jpgComplex care is a growing field that brings together professions, organizations, and sectors to improve and center care around the needs, goals, and circumstances of individuals with complex health and social needs.

For the field of complex care to show its value in improving outcomes and to evaluate programs' delivery and impact, there is a need to identify and standardize measures that are used for evaluation and quality improvement.

This report presents:

  • The current state of quality measurement in complex care
  • Key challenges associated with complex care
  • Current complex care research and measurement development efforts
  • Eight recommendations for next steps to develop a standard set of quality measures for the field of complex care


One recommendation of the Blueprint for Complex Care was to develop standard quality measures for complex care programs beyond cost and utilization. In response to this recommendation from the Blueprint, the National Center commissioned IHI to conduct a landscape analysis, interviews with subject matter experts, and a scan of existing quality measurement efforts pertaining to the field of complex care. The results of IHI's research and analysis are presented in the Measuring Complexity report.

Related Information

Blog post: A Roadmap for Developing a Complex Care Measurement Strategy

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