7 Ways to Use Key Quality Metrics to Improve Gastroenterology Centers
Blair Lewis, MD, a gastroenterologist at Carnegie Hill Endoscopy Center in New York City, discusses how gastroenterologists and GI-driven centers can use quality metrics to improve their practice.
1. Collect data into master registries. There are two major registries — one hosted by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopists and another by the American Gastroenterological Association — that collect GI/endoscopy data and develop quality measures. "This data can be used to benchmark individuals against others at their center, or one center versus another center," says Dr. Lewis. "In New York we have GIQuIC data for the center compared to the benchmarks of all other centers in New York City."
2. Compare individuals to the group. Collecting data on all individuals and comparing everyone to group data identifies outliers. Work with those outliers to improve performance and maintain quality within the group. "Everyone is part of the same team," says Dr. Lewis. "Together you swim, separately you sink."
3. Prepare for public posting of quality measures. The healthcare industry is trending toward transparency of both cost and quality data for different providers and gastroenterologists should prepare for public online posting. "In the future, individual metrics will be posted," says Dr. Lewis. "Most centers are just now contemplating tracking their data and my strong advice would be to sign on to one of the registries and start that process. You want enough information to turn into reliable data so patients can see your true outcomes."
4. Attract new patients with superior outcomes. If you can track your performance metrics, such as adenoma detection rate, and achieve a higher level than your competitors, you can use that information to attract new patients. "The sooner you start collecting reliable data and see your true ADR, the sooner you have good data that can be published," says Dr. Lewis. "That takes a long time. You need a high volume of data to prove the quality of your practice."
5. Incorporate an EMR for data collection. Electronic medical records make data collection much easier than recording outcomes by hand when the system is properly incorporated into your practice. "Most physicians think of keeping quality metrics as onerous and hard, and they are worried about what the world will think about them," says Dr. Lewis. "However, data collection through the EMR is very easy and not onerous on them at all."
6. Share quality information with insurance companies. After collecting sufficient quality data and ensuring physicians in your group perform at a high level, you can demonstrate the quality of your care to insurance carriers as well as patients. "We have to demonstrate to insurance companies and patients the quality of care we now perform," says Dr. Lewis. "Now we can prove our value so they'll cover these procedures appropriately."
7. Monitor adherence to quality guidelines. Groups monitoring key quality metrics can follow whether physicians are adhering to the ASC's guidelines for scope of care and avoid bringing patients who aren't a good fit for outpatient procedures to the ASC setting. "Physicians have to know how to choose which patients should be brought to the center versus which should go to the hospital for their care," says Dr. Lewis. "In these days of information, tracking quality measures makes physicians change the way they perform treatment."
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