The Physician Consortium for Performance Improvementa group led by the American Medical Associationrecently approved 10 new quality performance measures that their designers say could go a long way in helping physicians and hospitals improve results.
These send a signal to the profession, said Nancy Nielsen, speaker of the AMA House of Delegates, of the measures that cover the assessment and treatment of prostate cancer, the prevention of hospital-acquired infections, and the standardization of breast and colorectal cancer pathology reports. If a hospital or a doctor is looking at what they can do to improve things, the evidence supports thatif these things are donethe results are better.
Formed in November 2000, the consortium, which includes more than 100 specialty and state medical societies, has developed a total of 184 quality measures covering conditions such as asthma, heart failure and hypertension. According to the AMA, 80% of the measures included in Medicares new Physician Quality Reporting Initiative rely on consortium-developed measures.
Two new measures are related to initiatives in the Institute for Healthcare Improvements 100,000 Lives Campaign, Nielsen said. They call for elevating the heads of patients on ventilators to prevent pneumonia, and using a catheter-insertion protocol shown to reduce the risk of catheter-related bloodstream infections.
Some of the measures will go through the National Quality Forums endorsement process, which previously took up to two years but now takes six to seven months. From there, the measures will be reviewed by the AQA alliance, formerly the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance, which helps promote the measures use and implementation. The CMS, private payers and medical boards would then adopt the measures.
It has been said the consortiums motivation is for doctors to develop performance measures before they are created by politicians, payers or other organizations. Nielsen said that may be partly true, but called it a cynical view. Is there an element of Should these measures be developed by those who know the evidence best? Sure, she said. But the real motivation is that the folks around the (consortiums) table do know the evidence best, and the intent is to have physicians do what they can to solve the problems in healthcare that are under our control.
NQF President and Chief Executive Officer Janet Corrigan said there is a need to develop more new measures and refresh existing ones. What were doing is building a richer portfolio of measures, she said. We all know the current measures are not adequate.