In December 2014 the a American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and American College of Gastroenterology joint task force released updated quality indictors that span a broad range of GI/endoscopy procedures.
While gastroenterologists are no strangers to benchmarking, the new metrics come at a time that quality reporting is becoming essential to not only outcomes, but also to how physicians are compensated.
“The new quality metrics published by the ASGE and ACG expand on measures that are already in place for virtually all GI practices,” says William Katkov, MD, a gastroenterologist with Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.. Whether through CMS’ Physician Quality Reporting System or a Qualified Clinical Data Registry such as GIQuIC, gastroenterologists are already tracking and reporting significant amounts of data. GI practices already have a firm foundation, which the updated metrics will improve.
While quality improvement and reporting systems have become a standard part of the majority of GI practices, there are other implications beyond improvement. “The costs associated with tracking these metrics has contributed to the implementation of EMR, as well as consolidation and alignment with large health systems that can assist with data management,” says Dr. Katkov. “The cost in dollars and time associated with meeting the demands of quality measures is substantial. It is unlikely that the rewards linked to these programs offset the costs to many GI practices.”
Smart GI practices are preparing financially and considering alternative partnerships to shoulder quality reporting demands.
These new quality indicators have an increasing role in how gastroenterologists practices could have substantial benefit. “They are evidence-based and reflect a higher standard of care. If the data can be retrieved and reported efficiently, higher reimbursement as a reward quality may confer tangible benefits to GI practices,” says Dr. Katkov.