Program Certification, Performance Measures and Why?


Program Certification, Performance Measures and Why?

By Mark Stout, MS, CCRP, FAACVPR

As we wrap up the 2018 Program Certification application cycle, many of you might be asking about the new AACVPR Performance Measures and why these measures were selected. In the past, we have asked programs to submit outcome measurement in the areas and domains such as clinical, behavioral, health and quality of life, dyspnea and functional status. In the past, we recommended multiple outcome tools for each of these areas, but would also accept other tools selected by your program.

While reporting these outcomes was a great measure of whether or not programs were collecting the data in these areas, the information obtained by Program Certification and AACVPR was not useful in regards to showing how cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs impact certain areas of practice. We could see evidence of improvement in outcomes but these were collected with a wide variety of outcome measurement tools, most of which that had not been tested for validity and reliability.

For that reason, Program Certification contacted the AACVPR Quality of Care Committee to task them to come up with a list of more meaningful outcome measures and tools that could be measured by all programs. At the same time, these new measures needed to be evidenced-based in nature, had to use outcome tools that were thoroughly tested and had to be implemented with relative ease into your program. There were Performance Measures that rose to the top such as blood pressure control, improvement in functional capacity, depression and health-related quality of life. While other outcomes such as nutrition practices did not make the cut, they could be considered in the future after data analysis from these newly established measures.

For the Program Certification process, you are required to collect data for each Performance Measure and encouraged to continue with measurement of outcomes in other areas.

Bottom Line

It is important that all programs measure the same outcomes so that we can establish standard benchmarks of performance and practice. This will be very helpful in demonstrating your program’s impact to your health network and comparing yourself to others in your region, state and across the country. For further information about the AACVPR Performance Measures, please visit For those programs who are preparing to certify or re-certify in the 2019 application cycle, you should be currently collecting Performance Measure data from 2018.


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