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Quality Comparisons: Does measuring medical performance lead to better patient health?

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An interesting article in Government Health IT today looks at whether measuring medical peformance leads to better patient health. The simple answer is yes according to this article, but the measures need to be more focused. A previous study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2006, for example, found that measures used in a performance measurement project run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were specific but not meaningfully linked to patient outcomes.

Many commercial and public interest groups are now tackling this problem, such as The American Medical Association (AMA), who are leading a project to develop standard performance measures that health providers and insurance plans nationwide can use, while Congress is trying to push the envelope with enticements for physicians to use performance measures. IT will be vital to the widespread use of performance measures. However, although health IT vendors are starting to look at the ramifiactions of performance measures, most are reluctant to do much work until a consensus on nationally applicable measures is clearer.

Read full article: Quality comparisons, Government Health IT

Relationship Between Medicare’s Hospital Compare Performance Measures and Mortality Rates, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 296 No. 22, December 13, 2006