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Study finds publicly reported quality-Of-care measures influenced Wisconsin physician groups to improve performance

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A study published in this month’s edition of Health Affairs found that publicly reported performance data motivated physician groups  to act on some, but not all, of the quality measures.  Public reporting of how physicians and hospitals perform on certain quality of care measures is increasingly common, but little is known about whether such disclosures have an impact on the quality of care delivered to patients. The study focused on fourteen publicly reported quality of ambulatory care measures from 2004 to 2009 for the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, a voluntary consortium of physician groups. Researchers also fielded a survey of the collaborative’s members and analyzed Medicare billing data to independently compare members’ performance to that of providers in the rest of Wisconsin, neighboring states, and the rest of the United States. Findings from the study indicate that physician groups in the collaborative improved their performance during the study period on many measures, such as cholesterol control and breast cancer screening. Physician groups reported on the survey that publicly reported performance data motivated them to act on some, but not all, of the quality measures. The study suggests that large group practices will engage in quality improvement efforts in response to public reporting, especially when comparative performance is displayed, as it was in this case on the collaborative’s website.

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