Experts urge for improvements in quality measures for primary care physicians

Because family physicians routinely see complex patients of varied backgrounds and medical needs, it’s time to create a better way to measure quality outcomes in primary care.

That’s the opinion of the National Quality Forum’s Measure Applications Partnership (MAP), which announced findings of a report aimed at identifying performance metrics the Department of Health and Human Services could potentially eliminate.

MAP is made up of some 150 healthcare leaders from 90 public and private organizations. It make recommendations several times a year for improving quality metrics. However, it does not consider the steps HHS and CMS would be required to take to make the changes.

While MAP typically recommends new measures or changes to those already in place, last month’s report suggested removing 51 of 240 measures that are included in seven federal programs and used to determine payments to physicians. The report also recommended finding ways to improve performance measures in nine other federal programs.

A report last fall by Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality mirrored MAP’s recommendations. That report identified specific steps policymakers should take, including:

  • Have one body that sets healthcare standards, similar to an organization like the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets standards for public companies. The body should be independent and work to determine who quality data is gathered.
  • Understand the science behind performance measures and encourage collaboration between government agencies that work in this field. That would decrease the $15.4 billion spent annual measuring and reporting quality metrics.
  • Disseminate data efficiently. With adequate funding, policymakers can determine how to communicate the correlation between quality and cost differences to patients.

Both reports said improving the way primary care physicians measure and report quality outcomes is vital to the longevity of independent practices. For many doctors, too much of a focus on these areas leads to burnout and a feeling of disconnect between clinician and patient.

At Elation, we strive to help independent physicians build relationships and focus on providing the highest quality care for patients. A well-designed EHR for primary care provider is vital to physicians’ ability to capture accurate quality data while treating patients.

We also know the move to CPC+ model will deliver incentives to physicians who meet quality metrics. To do so, solo practitioners will need help from a trusted partner like Elation.

Let us show you how we can help. Contact Elation today for a demonstration.