Measuring quality improves care

Measuring and reporting performance does improve care, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

The article states that a recent study compared the care given to patients by physician practices that belong to the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, an initiative that measures and reports performance on diabetes metrics, to the care given by physicians not in the collaborative.

Key findings from the study:

  • Physician practices in the Collaborative scored better on metrics that were being measured and publicly reported, including glycohemoglobin testing and lipid testing in diabetics.
  • Some non-Collaborative physician groups outperformed the Collaborative group on measures that were not being measured and publicly reported, including diabetic eye exams.
  • For Collaborative members, there was significant overall improvement in 7 of the 8 measures that were measured and reported for at least 3 years.
  • Practices in the collaborative that were initially ranked low compared to their counterparts improved at a greater rate than those ranked higher when public reporting started.

The authors state that there were some weaknesses in the study, including the fact that membership in the collaborative was voluntary, therefore practices that joined may have been more motivated to make improvements.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, October 24, 2011; Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality website, http://www.wchq.org, October 2011)