Individual physician performance … reducing diagnostic errors … improving performance measurement
A focus on individual physician performance, reducing diagnostic errors, standardizing performance measures and rethinking patient satisfaction will be among the top agenda items for healthcare quality and safety leaders in 2016.
Dr. John Toussaint, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, said there will be a greater focus on individual physicians when it comes to quality reporting and value-based payment in 2016. He pointed to Medicare’s new value-based physician payment system for which providers must begin preparing even though it doesn’t go into effect until 2019. The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System makes it easier to analyze episodes of care delivered by individual doctors. “It’s been a slow change, but it’s clearly what we need to do to get off of the fee-for-service gravy train,” Toussaint said.
Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said there is growing attention to diagnostic errors, with the 2015 release of a National Academy of Medicine report on the issue. More emphasis will be placed on fixing the problem in the year ahead. Related to that is physician burnout. “Until we address this, the quality, safety and improvement movement will be stunted,” he said.
The push for a national board that sets standards for provider performance measures also may gain momentum. The profusion of different measures and questions about their validity have generated growing angst, especially as performance on those measures becomes increasingly linked to financial rewards and penalties. Quality leaders from various healthcare organizations have called for performance rating groups to coordinate their efforts and more closely examine their measurement methodologies.
“We need standards for looking at the validity, importance and feasibility of new and existing metrics,” said Dr. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “We don’t have that degree of robustness right now.”
Finally, as healthcare organizations marry quality of care with patient engagement and experience, there may be a shift from use of the term “patient satisfaction,” said Airica Steed, chief customer experience officer at OhioHealth.
The term is a misnomer that implies a “warm and fuzzy” factor, she said. But in healthcare, the end goal is not primarily to make patients happy, but to offer the highest quality of care and best outcomes possible. “If you only approach it from the aspect of customer service, you completely miss the boat,” she said.
“We need standards for looking at the validity, importance and feasibility of new and existing metrics. We don’t have that degree of robustness right now.” Dr. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine