MANAGED CARE June 2007. ©MediMedia USA
NCQA has published an expanded set of measures, guidelines, and technical specifications to assess standardized, equitable physician practice quality, using data collected from electronic medical records in addition to administrative claim data and paper medical records. These new data sets are available in HEDIS Technical Specifications for Physician Measurement, which contains more than 40 measures of clinical quality, sets standards for the measurement of the cost of care, and provides standardized methods of data collection at the physician office level.... A new strategy proposed by America's Health Insurance Plans would create an independent entity to compare the safety and efficacy of medical procedures and technologies, advocate steps to promote transparency of health care information, speed up the adoption of best practices, and create a new patient-centered dispute resolution mechanism. The strategy also calls for reforming the Food and Drug Administration to improve its ability to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of newly approved drugs and devices.... Physicians do not routinely consider patients' out-of-pocket costs when recommending expensive medical care, according to researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change. Although almost 80 percent of physicians consider patient costs when prescribing a generic over a brand-name medication, far fewer consider costs when deciding what diagnostic tests to recommend (40.2 percent) or deciding whether to hospitalize a patient when outpatient treatment is an option (51.2 percent).