The National Committee for Quality Assurance and GeoAccess, a unit of healthcare data miner Ingenix, of Salt Lake City, announced an agreement today in which NCQA's database of physicians certified for clinical quality performance and adoption of clinical information technology will be available for wider distribution though insurance industry customers of GeoAccess.
The NCQA also announced it had upgraded its own Web site to make its database searchable by state for physicians certified as having met performance standards for managing patients with diabetes, heart conditions and/or stroke, and for physicians whose practices meet NCQA criteria for use of healthcare IT to improve patient care.
The search tool is available at the NCQA Web site.
The NCQA has run a physician-specific recognition program in diabetes management since 1997, said spokesman Brian Schilling. The program certifies 1,800 physicians who have voluntarily submitted data on and met disease management standards developed by NCQA in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association, Schilling said.
The not-for-profit organization's program for heart/stroke, developed in conjuction with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and its program to certify IT users, is newer and thus far has fewer participants.
Several large payers, among them Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare, use NCQA certification in their directories of plan-participating physicians.
And while the NCQA Web site is accessed by more than 3,000 potential patients a month looking for certified physicians, Schilling said, GeoAccess, which produces online directories for hundreds of other healthplans, will spread the word about these physicians to tens of millions of potential patients.