The National Committee for Quality Assurance is rolling out five new clinical quality measures as additions to its 2006 Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set.
The new HEDIS measures address the overuse of antibiotics to treat chronic bronchitis; the use of spirometry, viewed as the most effective means for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder; inappropriate use of certain medications, such as barbiturates, by the elderly; and appropriate follow-up monitoring of both the elderly and children taking medications long term.
NCQA spokesman Brian Schilling said some health plans already have pilot-tested one or more of the measures, but they won't be incorporated into HEDIS for general data collection until 2006 and the data won't be publicly reported until 2007.
Front-line physicians will see the plans begin to roll out their programs to collect data under the new measures within the next six months, beginning with education programs, conferences and mailings about them, Schilling said. Technical specifications for the 2006 HEDIS can be ordered in printed or electronic versions at ncqa.org.