An initiative backed by HCA Virginia hopes to improve patient care by getting physicians to open up their medical decisions and practices to the scrutiny of other doctors. The Virginia Quality Care Partnership will identify best practices and measure physicians performance against those standards.
The collaboration started with about 30 doctors and is expected to grow quickly to 200 or 300, reports Tammie Smith with the Times-Dispatch. The initiative covers 37 medical specialties. The program, which is open to all comers, is voluntary.
“It’s doctors getting together, deciding what are the important things to measure and do to improve quality, and holding ourselves accountable for meeting those standards,” says Dr. Glenn Glessel, a lung specialist who is chairing the new organization. There is no charge for participating. “What the doctors are providing is sweat equity, if you will. They are putting in time to develop the measures and review performance.”
The movement to measure physician performance and hold them accountable is gaining momentum. VCU Medical Center, Virginia’s largest hospital, recently kicked off a similar program called RAM care, standing for reliable, accurate and measurable care. The data is used in “report cards” used in evaluating the doctors.
Bacon’s bottom line: My question is, what’s taken so long? If physicians and health care systems don’t adopt best practices and measure performance, pretty basic stuff in other industries, they invite the federal government, which has a twitchy regulatory finger as it is, to intercede. If you were a doctor, who would you rather have overseeing your performance — Congress and a bunch of federal bureaucrats, or your professional colleagues?
Escalating health care costs are undermining the economy and the fiscal sustainability of state and local government. The only way to ward off disaster without debilitating cuts to services is to unleash the same kind of innovation and productivity gains seen in other sectors of the U.S. economy. This looks like a small step in the right direction. But we need a lot more where this came from.
Special thanks to DUI attorney Vanessa Hicks for supporting Bacon’s Rebellion.