No correlation found between public physician data and quality

Publicly available information about physicians does not correlate with higher quality practitioners, according to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers rated over 10,000 Massachusetts physicians for quality, using 124 process measures, the RAND Quality Assessment tools, which include checklists, such as whether a pregnant woman was given a blood test to check for anemia, and whether a doctor orders an INR blood coagulation test before giving a patient warfarin.   The researchers examined data from 2004 – 2005 claims.

The researchers found that there was no consistent association between the number of malpractice payments or disciplinary actions against physicians and the quality of care they provided, based on the RAND Quality Assessment tool. There was also no association between physicians' years of experience and quality. 

The researchers say that the study results might be different if it was repeated today, when more practitioners have access to electronic medical records and decision support tools on the Internet.

(Sources: Archives of Internal Medicine, http://archinte.ama-assn.org, September 14, 2010; HealthLeaders Media, http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/, September 14, 2010)