Noting that the 1,500 clinicians in its multispecialty group were worn out by the hundreds of quality measures they have to track, Indiana University Health embarked on a multiyear effort to streamline the measures that front-line providers are expected to worry about.
The information reported to Medicare and insurers is intended to help monitor and improve the quality and safety of healthcare. But collecting it also saps resources.
“It's a lot of time and effort spent at the computer documenting things that don't impact patient care,” said Dr. Jonathan Gottlieb, the Indianapolis-based system's chief medical executive. Gottlieb also contends it's impossible for an organization to carry out focused improvement efforts when too many measures are tracked at once.
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City teamed up with the Medical Group Management Association to put a price on the time providers spend to enter the data into the electronic health record, keep track of newly introduced measures and create protocols to track and report them.
The answer is about $15.4 billion a year, according to their study published Monday in the health policy journal Health Affairs.
That's “a large amount of money being wasted on checking this box and that box,” said lead study author Dr. Lawrence Casalino, chief of the division of health policy and economics at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “It's time physicians could spend on not rushing a patient, or thinking about a diagnosis more carefully.”