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QUALITY QUICKIE: Ratings getting off ground, but humbled by technology

While it’s really baby steps, it looks like the slowly emerging consumer-directed health plan movement is finding some information out there to show its members.  Even stock site CBS Marketwatch has noticed in this article called hospital, doctor quality ratings getting off ground. But while Healthgrades and Leapfrog rate hospitals, the Californians who are a little ahead of the game here and actually paying for "quality" are increasing the amount of incentive they are giving medical groups for having EMRs or other technology that improves and measures healthcare delivery and quality. The Pay for Performance initiative from IHA is now going to weight 20% of its bonus based on the level of investment the provider group makes in IT.

That of course begs the cynical question; if the IT is not up to scratch to capture the information about the care being delivered, how do they (or Healthgrades or Leapfrog for that matter) know what care they are really rewarding with the program?  OK, so that’s a little cynical of me, but the demand from the IOM for a national information reporting system is essentially pointing out the same thing.

The quality buffs always say that you can’t manage what you can’t measure and it appears that we can’t really measure what we’re doing.  So the measurement that is going on is indeed improving in only baby steps.

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