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ACP Details Connection between Improving Quality of Care through Physician Performance Measures and Advances in Electronic Health Records

Six Point Check List Provides Essential Provisions for Success

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians (ACP) has released a series of papers examining how health care can move forward on quality improvement and physician performance measures while building the necessary infrastructure for national electronic health records.

The paper's key conclusions have been summarized in a six point check list of essential policy developments for success.

  • The federal government helps provide the resources to assist physician acquisition of the new electronic systems so the process does not create another unfunded government mandate on struggling practices.

  • The new technologies and standards are "reality tested" before being widely adopted to assess their suitability for the typical office-based physician practice and to evaluate their efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness.

  • The new technologies and standards help physicians improve quality by giving them immediate access to evidence-based clinical tools, without giving third party payers another way to exert control over physicians' clinical decision-making.

  • The new technologies, standards, and performance measures reduce the amount of time that physicians and their staffs spend on administrative tasks and allow them to devote more physician and staff time to patient care.
  • The performance measures are selected by the medical profession itself, based on an objective, evidence-based evaluation of which measures are most likely to improve quality.

  • Physicians, not just health plans or disease management companies, share in the financial incentives for managing care effectively based on accepted performance measures.

ACP's papers come in conjunction with President George Bush's announcement of his goal that all Americans have electronic health records within the next 10 years, and with a May 6 meeting hosted by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson with the nation's leading health informatics experts.

The three papers are:

1. "The Use of Performance Measurements to Improve Physician Quality of Care"
2. "Enhancing the Quality of Patient Care Through Interoperable Exchange of Electronic Health Care Information"
3. "The Paperless Medical Office: Digital Technology's Potential for the Internist"

"ACP's check list is meant to help the administration, Congress and federal agencies pursue the right polices for a workable system of electronic health records," said ACP President Charles Francis MD, FACP, FACC. "We hope these resources help make sure the health system gets it right the first time because it is too financially strapped to afford a costly failure."

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults.


Note to editors: Full text of the following is available online -

"The Use of Performance Measurements to Improve Physician Quality of Care" (full text)

"Enhancing the Quality of Patient Care Through Interoperable Exchange of Electronic Health Care Information" (full text)

"The Paperless Medical Office: Digital Technology's Potential for the Internist" (full text)


Contact:
Jack Pope (202) 261-4556, jpope@acponline.org Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org

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