Large physician groups are using only one-third of recommended care-management processes for asthma, congestive heart failure, depression and diabetes, according to a study appearing in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association. The four conditions account for about 140,000 deaths and more than $143 billion in costs each year in the U.S. Examining more than 1,000 physician groups with 20 or more doctors, researchers found that the groups on average employed 32% of 16 recommended care-management processes, including use of nurse care managers, development of disease registries and feedback to physicians on quality of care. Part of the problem is a lack of technology in doctors' offices and economic constraints limiting investments in electronic medical records. What's more, one in three physician groups reported having no incentives to improve quality. "The results suggest that Americans are not receiving care that is as good as it could and should be," said Stephen Shortell, principal investigator and dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley,. -- by Michael Romano
Care-management practices going by wayside
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.