Faculty in the health policy department of Harvard Medical School, Boston, will evaluate initiatives by Blues plans to improve quality of care under a new program unveiled today by he Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Each quarter, a few Blues plan initiatives will be evaluated for affordability, quality, safety and compatibility for physicians, according to association spokesperson Christopher Hamrick.
The programs and evaluations of them would then be shared as models of "best practice" with other Blues plans, he says.
Hamrick says the association will issue specific criteria for the studies in a week or two, and the Harvard experts--Barbara McNeil, M.D., David Blumenthal, M.D., and Edward Guadagnoli--will issue their first report in January.
He says the studies are part of a larger association initiative, BlueWorks, which also was unveiled today. BlueWorks will involve outreach to consumers and efforts at "innovative product design," Hamrick says.
In a release, the association gave some examples of innovative partnerships with doctors and hospitals to encourage improved quality:
- Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield partnered with physicians to implement guidelines for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's partnership works with more than 340 hospitals in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to address quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient safety, processes of care and organizational management structure.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is beginning to reward performance and outcomes based on measures from the Leapfrog Group, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research and others.