Newtown, CT – May 4, 2012
It's good to know that sometimes things work out like you hoped they would – in a new report we released today we show that practices recognized under the NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition program, and those recognized under BTE's Diabetes recognition program have lower overall costs of care per patient than their non-recognized peers. We've shown this before, but not with a study sample as broad as this one. So let's put this baby to rest and finally declare a small measure of victory. There are some words of caution that are important to note: first, we don't know if future recognized physicians will have the same performance as these, and second, the magnitude of the savings might be different using a different method of counting them. However, let's be clear: better quality costs less. We've known this for a while and industries across the globe have proven the point without a shadow of a doubt. Why then would it be any different in healthcare? It isn't.
What this means to you – while we know better quality costs less, we also show in this report that what you measure matters. Physician quality improved in the clinical domains for which they were reporting data, not in the others. And therein lies a crucial lesson. Those advocating parsimonious measure sets for quality accountability have it all wrong. We need the opposite. Physicians should have comprehensive dashboards filled with clinical quality measures on all the domains of care they're focusing on in their clinical practice. Accept nothing less because a patient's well being is at stake. We also know that savings can be elusive and that betting on the come is a dangerous game. As such, incentives for recognized physicians should be tied tightly to actual savings achieved relative to budget. That's the only way we can make these incentive changes sustainable. Yes, in this case, what we hoped for turned out to be true. Let's make sure we put the odds fully in our favor, or risk losing it all.
Francois de Brantes
Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc.