Patient Safety Awareness Week 2: New Quality Information on Primary Care Providers in MA

Today, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) released its 2010 Quality Insights, Clinical Quality in Primary Care report. The report provides ratings of the state’s performance on a variety of evidence based clinical care standards in the delivery of medical care. The report also rates the performance of individual medical groups in Massachusetts on the same standards. The following performance areas are evaluated: diagnostic/preventative services, depression, medical management, asthma, heart disease & cholesterol, diabetes, well-child visits, pediatric medications & testing, and women’s health.

The report suggests that while care is improving in Massachusetts, there is wide variety in performance between providers. This means that as a consumer it is important to go to the website and see how your doctor’s practice performed, especially in the areas of care you are most likely to receive. This can also be a very useful tool when you are trying to choose a new doctor or practice.

Here are a few highlights and lowlights of Massachusetts’ performance.

  • Massachusetts’ state-wide results are above the national average on 24 out of 26 process of care measures (example: screening rates of testing for colorectal and breast cancers) and all five of the outcome measures (example: blood sugar levels for patients with diabetes)
  • In the area of depression medication prescriptions, we did not do as well. Only 67.8% of newly diagnosed patients were appropriately prescribed short-term medication as only 52.2% received long-term medication prescriptions as appropriate. While these numbers are above the national averages they are still low.
  • Children in Massachusetts are receiving well-child visits more frequently than in other states. Amongst children ages 0-15 months 92.5% are receiving well visits (national average 74.8%). Amongst children ages 3-6 years 92.1% (national average 71.5%) and amongst adolescents (12-21 years) 73.5% receive well visits (national average 44.2%).

Public reporting on care provider performance is an important step in improving the quality of care. It encourages providers to be aware of their status and take steps to improve their performance. It also provides consumers with information that can lead to more informed decisions about healthcare. To find out about your providers performed, visit the website. Thank you again to MHQP for providing this valuable information to consumers and providers.

-Margot Schwartz

About HCFA

The Ultimate Massachusetts Health Care Insider Information
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2 Responses to Patient Safety Awareness Week 2: New Quality Information on Primary Care Providers in MA

  1. Paul Levy says:

    But it only really works if the data are current, or at least recent. That appears to not be the case here. It’s not MHQP’s fault, but can’t we get better information? More explanation: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2011/03/cars-planes-and-trains-and-later-there.html

  2. Aren’t these the tests that we trial lawyers get blamed for making them do? If we have to take the blame, shouldn’t we share the glory? I suppose it may be a while before I see a headline that reads “Doctors thank lawyers for forcing them to do tests that save lives.”

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