I know this may surprise you but researchers have found that reporting quality metrics is costly and not useful. Yeah, I know, who would have known? A survey of 395 orthopedic, primary care, cardiology and multispecialty physician practices that are members of the Medical Group Management Association found:
- U.S. physician practices in four common specialties spend, on average, 785 hours per physician each year on reporting quality measures.
- Overall, that time costs practices an estimated $15.4 billion each year, according to a survey in Health Affairs.
- 12.5 hours of physician and staff time per physician per week was spent on entering information into the medical record for the sole purpose of reporting for quality measures from external entities.
- Even though physician practices are putting a lot of time and effort into reporting on quality metrics, most of them aren’t using the information to improve quality.
Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, president and CEO of MGMA, said a few things in a statement that sounded like Charlie Brown’s parents (Wa Wa Waa Wa) but included such phrases as:
- top-down approach has failed
- serves no purpose
- it’s an exercise in futility
- the federal government needs to get out of the business of dictating patient care through wasteful mandates
Great job, Halee! Unfortunately, she has never said this stuff before:
- This was Halee in May of 2015 when she was interviewed after she took over the lead at the MGMA, “There is also the question we ask all the time: Which one of you is the bad doctor? Meanwhile, if you actually take a look, someone has to be on that end. When I was a CMO, we worked toward changing the culture, but more importantly, what we looked into and ultimately delivered was actually a new model of care. At least it was innovative for Colorado — it was a patient-centered medical home.”
- Or how about her testimonial for this company: “MCIS, Inc. integrating real-time analytics at the point of care is a game changer. It forces practices to think differently about using quality measures to improve Population Health Management. When analytics are applied immediately, care teams are able to provide better patient care during the visit.”
- At the most recent annual MGMA conference she said, “The keynote speech I’m giving is ‘Stop Whining and Start Leading,’ ” Fischer-Wright says. “It’s about how physicians need to stop complaining. Effective cultures require strong leadership.”
- Or when she said, ““The increased use of technology can improve the quality of patient care by improving records management, optimizing workflow and meeting HIPAA compliancy requirements.”
Clearly, Halee Fischer-Wright, MD was on the quality bandwagon until it no longer suited her.
The bottom line is that quality metrics have failed. Let’s stop them immediately. Let’s save that time and money to use to pay the staff or to reinvest into the practices. Who really benefits from these metrics? Well, the administrators, the hospitals, the MGMA, the insurers and the tech companies that crunch the numbers. Do we really want that to continue?