How to Move Doctors Along the Improvement Curve

Monday, October 19th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Sometimes a little healthy competition in a quality improvement effort gets results, whether at the practice level or hospital-wide. To encourage its five physicians to use evidence-based guidelines, Greenhouse Internists’ health educator posts monthly physician-reported results of HEDIS diabetes measures — the percentage of diabetics who had A1C’s over 9 or under 7, for example — over the microwave in the practice’s kitchen.

“When you go to put your sandwich in the microwave oven, you can’t help but stare at this chart and see where you are relative to your colleagues,” explains Greenhouse Internists President Richard J. Baron, M.D., F.A.C.P. Dr. Baron says presenting comparative performance data helps motivate the doctors to change, gives them a sense of how they’re doing with respect to evidence-based guidelines and moves them along the improvement curve.

This week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update features a study from the Center for Studying Health System Change that suggests strategies for increasing participation by time- and funding-strapped physicians in quality improvement programs. Beyond a visible program champion and clear communications, the study recommends the use of “credible data to identify areas that need improvement…physicians assume they are providing good quality of care until they are shown data proving otherwise.”

And as healthcare reform moves into the next phase, did last week’s passage of the Senate Finance Committee healthcare bill affect your expectations for the coming year? Take the 2010 Healthcare Trends e-survey by October 31 and find out how your colleagues are gearing up for the next 12 months.

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