Reduce Costs And Improve Outcomes By Measuring Individual Physician Care
Data collection and interpretation are critical pieces in the forward progress of the U.S. healthcare system, especially as performance-based payment models become more popular. According to an American College of Physicians position paper, the use of performance measurement (PM) is “intended to help achieve improved quality, high-value care, better patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and lower costs.”
To leverage the full power of data, however, we need to go well beyond the basic measures of patient satisfaction or an overview of a physician group’s performance. Instead, we must assess physician care on an individual provider level using clear metrics and hard data. This was demonstrated in a 2019 study in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, which showed how simply sharing a surgeon scorecard was associated with improved value in elective primary hip and knee arthroplasty. After nine months of scorecard distribution amongst orthopedic surgeons, the mean total costs for total joint arthroplasties decreased by 8.7%, with the mean total direct variable costs decreasing by 17.1% and implant costs decreasing by 5.3%. Length of stay also decreased slightly with no significant changes to readmission rates. Collecting and sharing individual physician metrics can have immediate positive effects.